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Mukherjee concludes Australia visit

world Updated: Jun 24, 2008 13:06 IST

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday left for New Delhi concluding his first visit to Australia during which both the sides inked treaties on extradition and mutual legal assistance and reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral ties including the possible sale of uranium to India.

Both the countries also agreed to further strengthen their relationship by forming a new body to hold yearly talks and by signing treaties to increase anti-terror efforts.

Mukherjee, who met Australian prime Minister Kevin Rudd and visited Parliament on Monday, signed extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties with his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith as both the leaders vowed to enhance their strategic security and counter-terrorism cooperation.

Smith said he wanted Australia to take its relationship with India to "the front line of its international partnerships".

"It is a matter of regret that, over the last 30 years or so, Australia has under-appreciated its relationship with India," Smith said on Monday.

On export of uranium, Smith said New Delhi was well aware of the Labour Party's opposition to uranium sales to India, as India was not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"The Australian Labor Party has a longstanding position, which is well known, that we don't export uranium to a country which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," he said.