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Aus repeats no uranium to India

india Updated: Nov 12, 2009 20:34 IST

Emphasising that its position of not selling uranium to countries that have not signed the NPT is not directed against India, Australia on Thursday kept the door open by saying it looked forward to the day when New Delhi's nuclear programme can include Australian uranium.

"I appreciate that there is one aspect of the energy relationship which remains unresolved: Australia's long-standing position on the export of uranium to countries that are not party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in a speech at the Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA).

Rudd, however, added that this "is not a policy directed at India".

"It applies globally, and it has been so since 1978 under different Australian governments," Rudd said.

He underlined that Australia, which has nearly 40 percent of the world's uranium reserves, never sought to isolate India on critical nuclear policy concerns. "Australia was an active supporter in the Nuclear Suppliers Group of lifting the nuclear moratorium against India following the US-India nuclear deal," he said.

"This reflected Australia's appreciation of India's non-proliferation record," he said.

Rudd held out a possibility that the Australian government may revise its policy of not selling uranium to those countries, which have not signed the NPT.

"The government understands that India looks to the day when its ambitious civil nuclear energy programme can include Australian uranium," he said.

Rudd, who is on his first visit to India, sought to take bilateral ties between the two countries beyond this "different policy approach" on uranium sale, and conjured up a robust picture of a comprehensive strategic partnership revolving round closer economic, energy, political and security ties.