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After Dubya, Aussie PM comes calling
March 04, 2006 20:10 IST
Australian Prime Minister John Howard will arrive in New Delhi on Sunday on a four-day visit.
The two countries are expected to sign a number of agreements, including in the fields of defence, trade, science and air services.
Undertaking his second visit in six years to strengthen bilateral trade and strategic relations, Howard will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Accompanied by a 20-member trade delegation, including leaders from some of Australia's top companies, Howard will interact with India's business leaders besides calling on President A P J Abdul Kalam and meeting United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition Lal Kishenchand Advani.
Ahead of his visit, Howard said: "India is an increasingly influential global and regional player whose interests converge with Australia's."
"The discussions I will have while in India will add impetus to our growing strategic relationship," he said in a statement.
His visit follows the high-profile three-day trip to India by US President George W Bush, which was marked by the signing of the historic Indo-US civilian nuclear pact.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on Friday welcomed the Indo-US nuclear deal but ruled out lifting a ban on uranium exports to India since it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.