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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

After NSG waiver India seeks uranium from Australia

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Sept 8, IRNA
Having successfully wrested a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group, India is preparing to press Australia to supply uranium to its reactors, hoping to build on Canberra's support during negotiations in Vienna.

The Manmohan Singh government is looking to engage Australia in all earnestness as despite the initial ambivalence, Kevin Rudd's government backed the waiver. India is now hoping that Canberra will similarly revisit its position on uranium supply.

The issue would be taken up with Australian foreign minister Stephen Smith who arrives in India on Tuesday. The Rudd administration had, after being voted to office last year, overturned the decision of the previous Conservative government to sell uranium to India, Times of India reported.

Rudd, a fluent Mandarin speaker, has taken the traditional Labour line on uranium supplies but India is expected to argue that the waiver should address Australian concerns over dealing with a state which has not signed NPT. Besides, earlier this year, the Labour government reaffirmed the Howard regime's commitment to supply about 20,000 tonnes of uranium a year to China, beginning 2010. This should cater to most of China's power needs.

As Australia accounts for 40 per cent of the world's uranium, India is eyeing a commercial deal for its civilian reactors. It is felt that it would not be easy for the Australian government to turn down India, without being seen as biased in favour of China, all the more so in the wake of the NSG waiver which it has helped facilitate.


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