Oz hints at reviewing ban on uranium sale to India | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Oz hints at reviewing ban on uranium sale to India

delhi Updated: Nov 16, 2011 01:58 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
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Removing a major irritant in its diplomatic relations with India, Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard sounded at overturning a ban on sale of uranium to India.

Welcoming the initiative, external affairs minister SM Krishna said, "We understand that Prime Minister Gillard proposes to seek a change in Australian Labour Party's policy on sale of uranium to India, in recognition of our growing energy needs, our impeccable non-proliferation record and the strategic partnership between our two countries. We welcome this initiative."

He added, "We attach importance to our relations with Australia which are growing across the board. Energy is one of the key areas of bilateral cooperation."

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The Australian move also got more interesting with Pakistan saying any uranium sales to India may be seen by it as aimed boosting the latter country's nuclear capability.

India not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was cited as the main reason for Australia's ban.

Gillard's ruling Labor party will debate the issue next month.

"It is time for Labour to modernise our platform and enable us to strengthen our connection with dynamic, democratic India," Gillard said in a column in The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

Besides her party, Gillard will need to also get the acquiescence of the governments of major uranium producing states such as Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia, before it lifts the ban.

According to various quarters, a decision to lift the ban on uranium sale would be welcomed by Australia's mining sector but is likely to be opposed by, the Greens, ally of the Labour's party.

(With agency inputs)