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Aus think-tank seeks Abbott`s visit to India after LS polls

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 14:35

Melbourne: An Australian think-tank has sought an "exclusive" visit by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to India soon after the general elections there to boost bilateral ties.

"India demands a separate and exclusive visit. The FTA (Free Trade Agreement) negotiations may not be concluded early, but India is far too important for just a `single issue` visit," said Amitabh Mattoo, director of Melbourne- based Australia India Institute (AII).

Abbott, who recently led one of the largest high-level trade delegation to three North Asian nations, has signed?free trade agreements with Japan and South Korea.

He also visited China and reportedly discussed free trade negotiations besides high-level defence exchanges with Chinese Premier?Li Keqiang.

Mattoo said that while Abbott made the right decision not to include India during the North Asia trip.

"I think Prime Minster Abbott must travel to India at the earliest opportunity after the new government is in place in New Delhi and before the G20 meeting in Australia in September," he added.
Mattoo said India was very much on the radar of Canberra and of the Abbott-led Liberal Party. "The nuclear negotiations, for instance, are at an advanced stage and could be concluded very early. But to give a greater boost, Abbott should take a large delegation and visit India at the earliest and invite the new Indian Prime Minister not just for the G-20 meeting but to use that opportunity for an extended bilateral visit.

"Australian Prime Minister should also invite the Indian Prime Minister to address the Australian Parliament. Few countries in the region have as much in common, both by way of values as well as interests as India and Australia and the two governments need to recognise this as soon as possible," he said.

The negotiations between India and Australia are said to be progressing well and the fifth round of talks was held in Canberra last year.

The two sides have agreed to double the bilateral trade from USD 20 billion at present to USD 40 billion during the next five years.

India is Australia`s third largest export market.

First Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 14:35

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