Australia to back US-India nuclear pact with suppliers: Rudd | world | Hindustan Times
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Australia to back US-India nuclear pact with suppliers: Rudd

world Updated: Aug 12, 2008 21:58 IST

Australia will support a civilian atomic energy deal between India and the United States at a meeting of key nuclear supplier states, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in Singapore on Tuesday.

Rudd's statement comes ahead of an August 21 meeting in Vienna of the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group on the deal, under which the US will provide energy-starved India with nuclear fuel and technology.

Australia is a key member of the NSG, which must approve the US-India deal in order for it to proceed. The US Congress must also ratify the agreement.

"We have already indicated to the most recent meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors that the government of Australia would not stand in the way of such an agreement," Rudd said after giving a lecture.

He said Canberra had communicated its decision "diplomatically to our friends in Washington and to our friends in New Delhi."

Earlier this month, the IAEA approved an inspections agreement with India that was needed for the deal to move forward.

Australia also sits on the IAEA's 35-member Board of Governors.

US President George W Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unveiled the agreement, which would see India enter the fold of global nuclear commerce after being shut out for decades, in 2005.

New Delhi has said the accord is important if India is to meet its rising energy needs to fuel its fast-growing economy.