Australian PM defers India trip

January 24th, 2009 - 1:10 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Jan 23 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Friday deferred his maiden visit to India, scheduled for Jan 27, after it became clear Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will not be able to hold talks with him due to a heart ailment. Manmohan Singh will undergo a coronary bypass surgery Saturday morning. He is expected to take rest for a few weeks after the surgery.

Rudd was expected to fly to India from Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea.

Trips to India and Papua New Guinea have been delayed “due to events in India and the postponement of the Special Pacific Island Forum in Port Moresby”, a statement from the Australian Prime Minister’s Office in Canberra said.

No new dates have been set for Rudd’s visit.

The visit was expected to focus on forging a strategic partnership and expanding economic and security cooperation between the two countries. India was expected to make a fresh pitch to persuade Australia, a member of the NSG, to sell uranium to India.

Although Rudd has adopted a hawkish posture on selling uranium to countries which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), India is hopeful that Australia will review its uranium sale policy, especially after the Nuclear Suppliers Group granted waiver to New Delhi last year.

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