Australia set to start talks on uranium sales with India
New Delhi, India (4E) – Years after ruling out uranium exports to non-NPT member India, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Tuesday arrived in capital New Delhi on a three-day visit to start nuclear talks with energy-starved Asian economy.
In 2011, Gillard had reversed its nuclear policy towards India in what experts believe a move that could improve its relations with big Asian countries.
“We have changed our party policy so that there is now no fetter for us on selling uranium to India,” Gillard told reporters. “The thing that would have to happen next is the negotiation of a comprehensive civil nuclear co-operation agreement,” she added.
Australia, if signs an accord, will sell uranium to India only on guarantee that it will use it only for peaceful purposes and in safe conditions. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will oversee the deal.
The relationships between India and Australia have recently strained over series of attacks on Indians in Australia. Australia is world’s third-ranking uranium producer after Kazakhstan and Canada.
Although it holds 23% of the world’s total reserves, it doesn’t use it for itself. Currently, it exports nuclear fuel to China, Japan, Taiwan and the United States.