Australian FM Arrives Tomorrow; Boosting Defence, Trade Ties To Be Focus

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will arrive here on Tuesday on a two-day visit with an aim to step up bilateral engagement in a range of key areas including defence, security and trade.

She is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hold talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, according to the external affairs ministry.

In a statement in Canberra, Bishop said ways to boost defence, security and trade ties will be explored during the visit.

“We will discuss our shared interests in a stable Indo-Pacific, our deepening defence and security relationship, and how we can boost trade and economic ties,” she said.

Swaraj and Bishop will have extensive deliberations covering entire range of bilateral cooperation during their talks under the foreign ministers’ framework dialogue. The issue of supply of uranium to India by Australia may also figure in the talks.

“India is a significant economic partner and trading partner, and I will explore further opportunities for Australia in the education sector and in developing innovative partnerships in the business sector,” Bishop said.

In a statement, Australian High Commissioner Harinder Sidhu said her country was committed to explore ways to further expand bilateral engagement with India.

“Our countries have a dynamic and growing knowledge partnership, flourishing people-to-people links and converging political, economic and strategic interests. And there is scope for us to do much more together,” the envoy said.

Bishop will also deliver the second Indo-Pacific Oration here where she said she will outline how Australia and India can work together to build peace and prosperity, and to maintain a rules-based order in the region.

India and Australia have been expanding their cooperation in the energy sector and New Delhi has been eyeing Australian uranium for its nuclear power plants.

Australia has about 40 per cent of the world’s uranium reserves and exports nearly 7,000 tonnes of yellow cake annually.

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