Modi, Abbott hold talks, seek enhanced economic partnership

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Canberra, Nov 18: India and Australia today sought early conclusion of negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement and a closure on the civil nuclear deal as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Tony Abbott held talks here.

After the two leaders held talks, India and Australia signed five pacts on social security, transfer of sentenced prisoners, combating narcotics trade, tourism, and Arts and Culture. "We also agreed on seeking early closure on the civil nuclear agreement, which will give Australia a chance to participate in one of the most secure and safe nuclear energy programme in the world," Modi said in a statement to the media at a joint press conference with Abbott.

Modi-Abbott

Later, while addressing the Parliament, Australian Prime Minister Abbott said, "If all goes well, Australia will export uranium to India under suitable safeguards because cleaner energy is one of the most important contributions that Australia can make to wider world."

Modi, while talking about India-Australia ties, said, "This is a natural partnership, arising from our shared values and interests, and our strategic maritime locations. India and Australia have a great economic synergy." "There are huge opportunities for partnership in every area we can think of –- agriculture, agro-processing, resources, energy, finance, infrastructure, education, and science and technology," Modi said.

Abbott, in Parliament, said, "By the end of the next year we will have a Free Trade deal with what is potentially the world's largest market." Modi emphasised that the economic climate in India has changed. "I believe it will be a lot easier to convert opportunities into concrete outcomes," Modi said. Modi also announced that India will organise a 'Make in India' show in Australia in 2015 while Australia would hold a business week in India in January next year.

"Prime Minister Abbott and I discussed what we should do to impart real momentum to our economic partnership. Reconstituting the CEO Forum is an important step. We have agreed to speed up negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. I also asked for easier access for Indian business to the Australian market and quicker investment approvals," Modi said at the joint press conference. 

PTI

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