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Australian PM Kevin Rudd defers India visit

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has deferred his maiden visit to India from January 28, apparently in view of the health condition of his host Manmohan Singh.

world Updated: Jan 23, 2009 17:36 IST

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has deferred his maiden visit to India from January 28, apparently in view of the health condition of his host Manmohan Singh.

Rudd, who was to meet Singh during his visit, has cancelled his six-day overseas tour which would have taken him to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland and Papua New Guinea saying that he would like to focus on his government's response to the global economic crisis.

Trips to India and Papua New Guinea have been delayed "due to events in India and the postponement of the Special Pacific Island Forum in Port Moresby", a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.

During Rudd's first visit to the country, India and Australia were scheduled to discuss a range of issues, including security and climate change.

"Following developments in the global economy in recent days the Prime Minister has decided to cancel his planned visit to the World Economic Forum to continue working on Australia's response to the global financial crisis," the statement quoted a spokesman as saying.

The statement did not mention the new dates for Rudd's tour which New Delhi considers to be a significant visit in view of Australia's refusal to supply uranium for India's civil nuclear power plants even after the International Atomic Energy Agency and Nuclear Suppliers Group granted waiver for nuclear commerce.