India, Australia to hold nuclear energy cooperation talks in March

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 21, 2013 09:30 hrs

India and Australia will hold the first round of negotiations on civil nuclear cooperation agreement in March in New Delhi.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said this in a joint press conference at the end of bilateral talks with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr here.

"We held the first ministerial level energy dialogue, led by the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and the Australian Minister for Energy, in December 2012; we shall be commencing negotiations on a civil nuclear energy cooperation agreement led by our Ministry of External Affairs and the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in March 2013, in New Delhi," Khurshid said.

"Our cooperation in water resources has expanded and the water technology partnership will take concrete shape at the next Joint Working Group, in April 2013 and negotiations for the transfer of sentenced persons will commence shortly," he added.

He further said: "High level Ministerial level exchanges have taken place in several areas. We shall soon be hosting the Joint Commission between our Minister for Commerce and Industries and the Australian Trade Minister which will give impetus to our trade relations, currently at Australian 21 billion dollars."

"Our trade negotiators have been engaged in broadening understanding towards a mutually beneficial CECA. Our investments in Australia have grown significantly in recent years, particularly in the resources sector," he added.

Welcoming the Australian side's decision to invest in the opportunities in India, Khurshid said: " Our Defence Minister will be visiting Australia soon for further discussions on cooperation in defence and security."

Meanwhile, Bob Carr said, both countries agreed to work towards strengthening regional and global institutions such as the East Asia Summit and G20 in particular ahead of Australia's chairmanship in 2014.

He also said, both countries have common views and aspirations on strategic issues including shared interest in the Indian Ocean and stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region. (ANI)

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