Chandigarh– The Australian government is in the advanced stage of signing an MoU with the Punjab Institute of Sports to provide training to the sportspersons and coaches to upgrade their skills in the sports, Australian High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu said on Sunday.

She also said that the Australian government was also striving hard to ink another MoU with the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, on the same lines.

Sidhu, who is on her first visit to Punjab, the state from where her family has its roots, offered to help Punjab in developing Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar as smart cities.

“Australia has a proven track and expertise in urban development due to its architectural and engineering marvels known for their sheer acumen and techniques,” she told Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during a meeting here.

Badal sought cooperation from the visiting Australian High Commissioner in the fields of education, skill training, agriculture and urban development.

Seeking Australia’s experience and expertise in fields like agriculture, food processing and horticulture, he urged Sidhu to help the state to provide high yield quality wheat seed to further enhance its quantum of production as Australia had the highest yield of wheat per hectare in the world.

Badal also requested her to initiate a farmer exchange programme between Punjab and Australia so as to enable the progressive farmers to learn about new techniques and modern farm practices of agriculture to maximize their yield.

The Chief Minister invited Sidhu to visit their ancestral village Dharamkot in Moga district next time along with her parents and family.

The Australian envoy later offered prayers at the famous Nada Sahib gurdwara in adjoining Panchkula town, 20 km from here.