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'Indian N-tests may cause Aus reversal'

world Updated: Aug 16, 2007 14:14 IST

PTI
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Australia will have to pull out of a proposal to sell uranium to India if it won't give up testing nuclear weapons, according to Government's chief nuclear adviser.

Ziggy Switkowski, chairman of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, said he expected a ban on nuclear testing to be part of any deal with Australia.

Asked the reaction if India wouldn't agree, Switkowski said: "I think at that stage we have to reverse out of the agreement in terms of supplying Australian uranium." India would have to play by acceptable international rules if it wanted Australian uranium, he was quoted as saying in Herald Sun on Thursday.

"To be allowed access in one case to American technology for new generation reactors and to our high quality uranium you've got to be prepared to accommodate the rules that govern reasonable international behaviour," he said.

"I think continuing weapons testing would compromise that kind of a situation. As I understand it, an agreement with Australia requires an agreement with the US to be in place. That agreement is not yet there" Switkowski, who also headed a government task force into nuclear power, added.

However, the deal with the US looks shaky after India interpreted the agreement as meaning that it could still conduct future nuclear tests.

Labour's foreign affairs spokesman Robert McClelland said the government should review its pending decision on moving forward on a nuclear safeguards agreement.

"The US State Department has now made clear that the US-India agreement is off if India do go ahead with a nuclear weapons test. So the foreign minister must immediately make clear whether the Howard Government was prepared to take their proposed nuclear deal off the table if India conducts nuclear weapons tests," he said.