New Delhi: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot Friday commended India for the "dramatic" increase in life expectancy, and pledged AUS$20 million to facilitate the partnership between the countries in the health sector.
"The partnership between the two countries would be extended to many areas like developing a potential vaccine for malaria, trauma care and the war against poverty," Abbot said during a visit to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Trauma Centre here.
"There is so much that the two countries can do together over the next four years," he said adding that Australia would provide AUS$20 million to facilitate this partnership.
"I thank you all for the work done to improve the life expectancy in India," he said addressing doctors at AIIMS.
He said the partnership in health sector between the two countries was important particularly in the field of trauma care.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan thanked Australia for extending technical expertise in trauma care, malaria eradication and diabetes.
"Considering that India has a large youth population, prevention of diseases is important for India," he added.
Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh said for India it was easier to do business with Australia as there are no linguistic issues.
Abbot visited the AIIMS Trauma Centre to see research activities and also met faculty and researchers involved in the Australia-India Trauma Systems Collaboration Project which is funded by the Indian department of science and technology and its Australian counterpart.
Harsh Vardhan, who later had a meeting with the visiting leader, said, "The warm and friendly relations that exist between India and Australia could materialise into manifold streams of cooperation in the health sector."
"India and Australia both have rich democratic traditions. I am sure that we could gain a lot of advantage from friendship with a country whose own health care system has achieved much," he said.
Abbot warmly complimented the Indian health minister for pioneering the Pulse Polio movement which led to India becoming polio free.
"There is a sense of altruism and commitment in the health care systems in both our countries," he remarked.
The Australian prime minister said that the existing Australia-India Trauma Systems Collaboration (AITSC) aims to reduce the burden of injury in both countries through development and piloting of improved systems of care.