HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

Aussie PM visit: Pact on uranium supply likely

Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 03, 2014
First Published: 00:18 IST(3/9/2014) | Last Updated: 00:22 IST(3/9/2014)

India and Australia are set to step up their ties in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three focus areas — skill development, urban management and science and technology. The two countries would also sign an administrative arrangement on uranium supply during the visit of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to India on September 4 and 5.

Australia is also seeking Indian investment in the development of its sparsely-populated eastern part, which is rich in natural resources.

Since Modi will be travelling to Australia for the G-20 summit in November which will also have a bilateral component, the two sides are looking at some eight to nine pacts, half of which are expected to be signed during Abbott’s visit.

The pact for supplying uranium for India’s civil nuclear programme, for which negotiations began in 2012, will be signed during the visit.

This is also significant that a nuclear agreement with Japan is the only missing link in India’s efforts to enter into civilian nuclear programme pacts with all key nations in the field. Australia accounts for 31% of recoverable uranium in the world. And India will be first non-signatory of the non-proliferation treaty to get uranium from Australia. The negotiations for the pact began in 2012.

Nuclear cooperation apart, the energy ties between the two countries also encompasses coal.

It is learnt that skill development to train work force, is top of the agenda. Australia and India will also cooperate in the field of urban management. Abbott is the first prime minister to arrive on a bilateral visit to India after the Modi government assumed office.

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