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India, Australia set to sign nuclear deal as Abbott visits

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is set to arrive in India on Thursday to sign a long-awaited deal to sell uranium to his energy-starved hosts and strengthen bilateral ties.

Abbott is expected to meet with new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior ministers during a two-day visit aimed at boosting trade.

“We expect significant outcomes from the visit to further enhance our partnership,” said Sanjay Bhattacharya, Indian foreign ministry joint secretary, on the eve of Abbott’s arrival.

“For us, Australia is a major supplier of resources, particularly energy necessary for our development needs,” Bhattacharya added.

India and Australia kickstarted negotiations on uranium sales in 2012 after Canberra lifted a long-standing ban on exporting the valuable ore to Delhi to meet its ambitious nuclear energy programme.