India cold to Australia’s trilateral dialogue offer | delhi | Hindustan Times
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India cold to Australia’s trilateral dialogue offer

With Canberra persisting on its no uranium export policy to India, New Delhi has side-stepped an Australian proposal for a trilateral strategic dialogue, with the US as the third party. The significant dialogue was proposed through the high-level diplomatic channels this month.

delhi Updated: Oct 31, 2011 00:52 IST
Shishir Gupta

With Canberra persisting on its no uranium export policy to India, New Delhi has side-stepped an Australian proposal for a trilateral strategic dialogue, with the US as the third party. The significant dialogue was proposed through the high-level diplomatic channels this month.

Government sources said Australia had proposed a dialogue on the lines of the new India-US-Japan tripartite talks scheduled to be held in Tokyo next month with additional secretary level officials discussing the India-Pacific strategic environment including maritime security.

But, New Delhi is understood to have given a cold shoulder to Canberra's initiative as India feels there is no point in having strategic ties with a country that chooses to put restrictions on uranium exports to India citing outdated non-proliferation concerns.

Although Australia is exporting uranium to China, US, South Korea, Taiwan and several European countries, it had banned yellow cake exports to India in 2008 when Kevinhttp://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/311011/31_10_pg13a.jpg Rudd was the prime minister. The present Julia Gillard government is under pressure from Australian media to overturn the outdated policy at the Labour Party conference in December particularly after the Indo-US nuclear deal.

New Delhi has decided to play it cool and send a message to Canberra by sending Vice President Hamid Ansari to represent India at the on-going Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Australia.

It is learnt that Ansari will not even broach the uranium topic with Gillard in the bilateral meet on Sunday.

With China ambitiously claiming South China sea as its backwaters and PLA Navy acquiring long legs through surface platforms, India-Pacific powers including Australia, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and the US have been concerned over an assertive Beijing.

While New Delhi has been vigorously engaging US Pacific Command in Hawaii, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam through high profile bilateral visits, it is not so sure about Australia as the latter often tends to box at the higher weight category.

Even though New Delhi wants to improve ties with Canberra in the mining sector, it has not forgotten the gratuitous statements of the Australian government after the 1998 Pokhran tests.