"Abbott said that his country wants a strong partnership with India in diverse areas as business, infrastructure, food security, energy security, water management and other sectors. Maharashtra was an excellent state to do business in," Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

The Australian Prime Minister, who is accompanied by a delegation of Vice Chancellors from various Australian universities, said Australia particularly wanted strong partnership between Indian and Australian Universities, the spokesperson added.

Abbott noted that at least 14,000 Indian students were pursuing higher education in Australia, and he would encourage Australian universities to have joint ventures with Indian universities and also to set up campuses in India.

"I came to Mumbai as a backpacker 23 years ago. It was a formidable experience. I never thought I would come here as a Prime Minister. The city has changed enormously. It is more throbbing and dynamic now," Abbott told the Governor.

Rao noted that the visit by the Australian Prime Minister has coincided with the Ganesh festival.

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