Turnbull to seek closer ties with India

Mr Turnbull faced questions about the deal just before meeting India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

Modi received Turnbull this morning, who arrived the night before for a four-day visit.

"It is a proportionate and calibrated response to stop that airfield being used to deliver chemical weapons again, but we are not at war with the Assad regime and the U.S. has made that clear also", Mr Turnbull said.

"The achievements of India are the admiration of the world", Turnbull said, adding: "We in Australia look forward to working even more closely than we have done in the past".

Later addressing a joint press conference with Prime Minister Turnbull, Modi said: "We reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations, number of forward-looking decisions taken to further strengthen our partnership".

The Indian prime minister said they both recognised their countries' future was tied to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Australia has invested $7 billion in India and is keen to ramp up investments, Mazumdar said.

On Tuesday, Mr Turnbull will take part in a strategic roundtable meeting involving Australia and Indian security and foreign policy experts.

Modi and Turnbull met bilaterally on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in China a year ago.

Both India and Australia have been relatively more assertive in expressing concern about China's activity in the South China Sea, but have usually walked a fine balance.

Last September, Trade Minister Steve Ciobo said Australia was doing a "stocktake" of the deal the coalition has strongly focused on for several years.

"Australia is willing and well-placed to help India with its education aspirations, including its goal of upskilling 400 million people by 2022", Birmingham said.

The joint statement said India welcomed the passage of the Civil Nuclear Transfers to India Act by the Australian Parliament, which could ensure commercial exports of Australian uranium begins soon.

In the afternoon, Modi and Turnbull travelled by a Delhi Metro train to visit the Akshardham temple in east Delhi. He is here to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to boost ties in key areas including defence, security, energy and trade.

The Prime Minister said he would concentrate on building the broader economic relationship between Australia and India, which was still on a good trajectory. They had decided in September 2014, when Turnbull's predecessor Tony Abbott visited India, to conclude the talks by 2015.

  • Julie Sanders