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Raising ties with India priority, says Australia minister

Advancing relations with India is a priority for the Australian government, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Friday.



Canberra: Advancing relations with India is a priority for the Australian government, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Friday.

"Advancing relations with India is a priority for the Australian government...Our discussion followed very productive talks between Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the annual Leaders` Meeting in Brunei Oct 10," Bishop said. A day earlier she met Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in Perth, reports Xinhua.

Australia and India agreed to a Strategic Partnership in 2009. India is Australia`s fifth-largest export market and a significant investor, the largest source of skilled migrants to Australia and the second largest source of international students.

According to Bishop, she and Khurshid reaffirmed the commitment of both the countries to finalise a civil nuclear cooperation agreement to enable the sale of Australian uranium to India, and announced the third round of negotiations would be held in New Delhi Nov 25.

She briefed Khurshid on the Australian government`s commitment to open trade and investment policies and welcomed Indian investment into Australia.

"We agreed that conclusion of a high-quality comprehensive economic cooperation agreement would underpin a further significant expansion of the trade and investment relationship to mutual benefit," she said.

Bishop said they discussed the importance of building a strategic relationship on energy security, and indicated that the two sides were working to finalise dates for the second ministerial meeting on energy security.

"Following the successful visit by Indian Defence Minister Antony to Australia in June, we also had good discussions on how to strengthen our security and strategic cooperation, including reviewing progress towards conducting a bilateral maritime exercise in 2015," she added.

In addition, they confirmed that the inaugural cyber security dialogue would be held in the first half of 2014, and reiterated the two countries` commitment to working together to address threats such as terrorism and transnational crime.

From Zee News

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