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Australian PM wants strategic ties with India

Australian Prime Minister John Howard will embark on a four-day visit to India next week.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 18:09 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who will embark on a four-day visit to India next week, has said that "more energy" needed to be put into bilateral ties for "general strategic reasons."

"We need to put more energy into the relationship for general strategic reasons," Howard said, while hoping that the visit would show the energy and enthusiasm Australia feels for its relationship with India.

The two sides are expected to use Howard's visit to sign off on the start of official negotiations for a trade and economic framework. India is Australia's 12th biggest trading partner.

Howard said the trip was needed to show Australia's greater level of energy and enthusiasm to strengthen trade and economic ties with the growing Indian economy.

"I think India's certainly getting stronger," said Howard, who will be accompanied by business leaders.

"It has a very strong middle class and I'm sure there are markets there. It's a just a signal to Australia and to India that we both want to put more energy into the relationship," he told The Financial Times in London.

"But I'm not promising that out of it is going to come a flow of contracts... I'm not certain that particular immediate trade benefits are going to flow out of it."

"I saw the Indian Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) more than a year ago at the ASEAN summit and he made this very interesting comment that Australia and India have a lot in common but we don't have much to do with each other," he said.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 18:09 IST