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Bilateral with Australia called off
Sunday, October 30, 2011

Perth : The scheduled bilateral meeting between Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was called off this morning on her request, officials said.

The Australian prime minister, who is facing a full-blown crisis because of the complete grounding of Quantas airline, cited "domestic exigencies" to request that the meeting be called off, they added.

"When the request was made by the prime minister, the vice president understood it perfectly and agreed to call off the meeting," Sujata Singh, India's high commissioner to Australia, told reporters.

The officials said Ansari and Gillard had a "pull-aside" during the informal Retreat sessions of the three-day Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) here. "They also had several interactions during the retreat and over two dinners," Singh said.

"Indo-Australian relations are on a very even keel and there are not many issues to discuss," said Singh.

Though some reports suggested that Ansari would take up the matter of an Australian ban on selling uranium to India, Singh had said earlier that the issue would not be taken up at the meeting.

"Australia has a position on the matter, and it is not India-specific. We do not intend to raise the matter with them as we know their position," she had said. (IANS)


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