Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will undertake his first visit to India next week to further strengthen the strategic partnership and promote trade and investment between the two countries, which are also likely to ink the much-awaited uranium deal.
“I will travel to India and Malaysia from September 4 to 6. On my first visit to India as Prime Minister, I will visit New Delhi and India’s financial capital, Mumbai, to strengthen the strategic partnership between our two countries,” he said.
Noting that the two nations have strong and growing economic and trade ties, he said India is Australia’s fifth largest export market with total exports of USD 11.4 billion.
“There is potential for further cooperation in resources, science, technology and education,” Abbott said.
“My visit will be an opportunity to engage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi early in the term of his government to increase bilateral cooperation to advance our mutual interests,” he added.
Abbott is also expected to meet other senior political leaders, including President Pranab Mukherjee.
Speculation is high that Abbott’s visit to India would see the two nations sign the much-awaited uranium deal.
Earlier this month, media reports here said the deal on the much awaited civil nuclear agreement will be formally signed by Prime Minister Abbott during his visit in September.
The negotiations between the two sides have been on since 2012 after Labor party reversed its decision to ban the uranium sale to India because New Delhi has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Australia holds about a third of the world’s recoverable uranium resources, and exports nearly 7,000 tonnes a year.
Energy-starved India is looking to nuclear power to supplement its existing options to fuel economic growth.
The visit is also an opportunity to promote trade and investment and promote our G20 objectives ahead of the Brisbane summit in November, Abbott said.
“I will be accompanied on my visit to India by a group of senior business leaders. The delegation reflects the breadth of Australian commercial interests in India and showcases opportunities for further business partnerships,” he added.