Australian PM leaves for four-day visit to India
Australia has repeated that it will not sell uranium to India until New Delhi signs the non-proliferation treaty.india Updated: Mar 05, 2006 13:55 IST
Australian Prime Minister John Howard has left for India on a four-day visit during which the two countries are expected to sign a number of agreements in various fields including trade, defence, science and air services.
"This visit will be an important opportunity to advance Australia's foreign and trade policy interests with a country of key and growing importance to Australia," Howard said in a statement on Saturday.
Howard's visit closely follows that of US President George W Bush during which Washington agreed to provide India with civilian nuclear technology though it has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Australia has repeated that it will not sell uranium to India until New Delhi signs the NPT.
In India, Howard will meet President APJ Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leading Indian political figures, including Congress party president Sonia Gandhi.
"I will be accompanied by a high-level delegation of business representatives with interests in India, whose presence demonstrates the importance Australia places on deepening commercial linkages with India," he said.
"India is an increasingly influential global and regional player whose interests converge with those of Australia.
"My visit will be a timely opportunity to encourage further expansion in our already productive relationship," Howard said.