Australian deputy PM to visit India

Canberra: Australian Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan will visit India to discuss business opportunities between the two countries, his office said Monday.

Swan was expected to depart for India Monday night. He will meet with India’s Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, senior government officials and business leaders.

“India is an emerging economic powerhouse and one of Australia’s closest regional partners, so this visit will be a great opportunity to build on our strong friendship and our growing economic ties,” he said in a statement.

“India is Australia’s fourth largest merchandise export destination and my visit will help ensure we are well-positioned to improve on this strong relationship,” he said.

India’s stellar growth over the past two decades has seen it become the world’s third largest economy, and it is projected to grow at an annual rate of about 6 per cent to 2025.

“India and Australia are both affected by the uncertainty besetting the US and European economies, and my Indian counterparts and I have argued strongly for action to address their underlying problems, particularly at the G20,” Swan said.

“During my visit I look forward to meeting with India’s Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, and leading economists and senior business leaders from both Indian and Australian firms to discuss the opportunities unfolding in India and the region,” he added.

Earlier in October, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited India and highlighted about the opportunities that exist in the region and sought enhanced economic engagement with the country. Both countries have set a goal of $40 billion bilateral trade by 2015.