'Enormous scope to deepen Australia-India ties'

Describing India as one of the most promising markets, Australia on Wednesday said there is enormous scope to further strengthen strategic partnership and promote trade and investment between the two nations, which are likely to ink the much-awaited uranium deal this week.

PTI| Updated: Sep 03, 2014, 14:39 PM IST

Melbourne: Describing India as one of the most promising markets, Australia on Wednesday said there is enormous scope to further strengthen strategic partnership and promote trade and investment between the two nations, which are likely to ink the much-awaited uranium deal this week.

"While India is Australia's fifth biggest export market and a valued investment partner there is enormous scope to deepen the relationship," said Trade Minister Andrew Robb, who is part of a high-level delegation accompanying Prime Minister Tony Abbott during his India visit beginning tomorrow.

"Our two-way trade is worth around 15 billion dollars, however, our aim is to substantially grow this figure, when you consider our trade with China for example is worth more than 150 billion dollars," he said.

He said Abbott is visiting India to build trade and investment ties with Australia's one of the most promising markets.

Abbott is leading an Australian business delegation made up of 32 CEOS and business leaders from the resources, finance, transport and logistics, packaging, education and training sectors.

During the visit, the Australian Trade Minister will be holding meetings in New Delhi and Mumbai with government and business representatives to explore avenues for greater commercial engagement.

He will participate in four high-level business roundtables, including those focussed on mining and energy and will join Prime Minister Abbott at a series of meetings and events.

"Our aim is to both develop our existing ties but to also ensure that both Australian and Indian businesses are aware of existing and emerging opportunities," Robb said.

"As an example, India's growing demand for skills and vocational training across a range of areas is enormous and Australia's world-class education and training providers are well equipped to help meet some of this demand," he said.

The Australian Prime Minister is expected to ink the long-awaited uranium deal with India during the visit.

He strongly supported sealing of the much-awaited uranium export deal with India under "suitable safeguards".

"If we are prepared to sell uranium to Russia, and we've been prepared to do that in the past, surely we ought to be prepared to provide uranium to India under suitable safeguards, India was a full functioning democracy with the rule of law," he had said.

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.