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Australia may sell uranium to India

An Australian delegation will visit India and US next month to examine details of the nuclear agreement.

india Updated: Mar 28, 2006 14:13 IST

Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Tuesday did not rule out lifting a ban on selling uranium to India.

However, Howard said the government was "not contemplating" a change in its nuclear policy.

He said Australia will send a delegation to India and the United States next month to examine details of a nuclear agreement between the two countries.

On selling uranium to China, Howard said "very good progress" had been made in negotiations on opening Australia's vast uranium reserves to China and a deal could be signed when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visits next week.

In remarks that sent shares in Australian-listed uranium producers and explorers soaring, Howard said there had been progress in lengthy talks on Canberra's insistence that its uranium is not used in Chinese nuclear weapons.

"We have made very good progress," Howard said during a joint press conference in Canberra with visiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"It's possible that the discussions could be satisfactorily concluded so that something could be said or signed when the Chinese premier visits Australia next week," he said.

During two days of meetings and speeches in Canberra, Blair and Howard have repeatedly stressed the strategic importance of helping the rapidly emerging economies of China and India achieve energy security.

Both Blair and Howard suggested nuclear power would offer the Asian giants a cleaner and more sustainable source of energy than the polluting coal and oil-fired stations on which they now rely.