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Media release

8 September 2008

Visit to India

I will visit India this week from Monday 8 to Friday 12 September.

This will be my first visit to India as Foreign Minister.

My visit reflects Australia’s intention to take India to the front line of its international relationships.

In New Delhi, I will meet my counterpart, Minister of External Affairs, Mr Pranab Mukherjee. He and I will continue the broad-ranging and productive talks we had in June when I hosted Mr Mukherjee in Canberra for the fifth Australia-India Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue.

Australia and India are natural partners and relations between us are very good, but there is immense potential to do more.

My visit underlines Australia’s strong commitment to raise the bilateral relationship to a significantly higher level across a wide range of areas.

In New Delhi, I will meet a range of key political figures. I will make a speech on bilateral relations at the Indian Council for World Affairs, the Indian partner to the Australia-India Roundtable which I announced with Mr Mukherjee in June this year.

The inaugural meeting of the Roundtable will be hosted by the Lowy Institute in November this year. The Roundtable will bring together leading individuals from both countries every year to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing Australia and India in the twenty first century.

I will also visit Chennai, the major city in India’s economically dynamic south and an increasing focus for Australian business. In Chennai I will meet the Chief Minister and Governor of the State of Tamil Nadu, of which Chennai is the capital, as well as key business representatives. I will visit the MRF Pace Academy, which has been assisted by Denis Lillee and where young Indian pace bowlers learn their craft.

From Chennai, I will go to Hyderabad, the capital of the State of Andhra Pradesh. Hyderabad is one of India’s new high-tech centres and home to a number of major IT companies which have invested in Australia. I will meet the Chief Minister and the Minister of Major Industries, and visit a number of high-tech projects which offer business opportunities for Australia.

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