Australian Deputy PM to commence visit to India from Aug.31

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New Delhi, Aug.28 (ANI): The Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, begins her inaugural five-day visit to India on 31 August.

The visit, which will take her to New Delhi and Chennai, will strengthen Australia's relations with India. Gillard is also Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion.

"The Australian Government is committed to taking its relationship with India to the front rank of our international partnerships," the Deputy Prime Minister said.

"The principal aim of my visit is to reinforce Australia's image as a culturally diverse, welcoming and safe country for Indian students, business people and other visitors. I will have the opportunity to thank the Indian Government for its support as we have responded strongly to the challenges faced by Indian students in Australia.

"This visit also allows me to underline Australia's commitment to building the relationship with India across a broad front. Students play an important role in the bilateral relationship, but there are many other areas of cooperation where we have strong shared interests: from energy and science and technology through to strategic affairs."

During her visit, Gillard will meet senior government representatives to outline the Australian Government's recent initiatives to improve the education experience for overseas students in Australia, including tighter regulation of education providers, a review of the Australian Government legislation governing international students, and the forthcoming International Students Round Table.

She will also visit a number of educational institutions, launch several key initiatives involving Australian and Indian educational institutions and meet some Indian students who have studied in Australia.

"My visit will highlight the depth of the education linkages between Australia and India and showcase their importance to our overall bilateral relationship. Australia and India are natural partners in education and we are committed to expanding our cooperation with India in the years ahead," the Deputy Prime Minister said. (ANI)

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