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No uranium to India without NPT: Aus

world Updated: Sep 08, 2008 13:11 IST
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Australian government will not sell uranium to India despite welcoming Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) decision to end the 34-year long embargo on nuclear trade with India, official said.

"However, Labor is committed to supplying uranium to only those countries party to the NPT. Australia will therefore not be supplying uranium to India while it is not a member of the NPT," Australian trade Minister Simon Crean was quoted as saying in 'The Australian' newspaper report today.

Labor party welcomed the decision by NSG as strengthening the global security of nuclear facilities, Crean said.

However, the federal Opposition claims Labor's policy was hypocritical and said Foreign Minister should use his next visit to India to announce a new uranium policy.

"Foreign Minister Stephen Smith should use next week's visit to India to announce a new uranium export policy for New Delhi," Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Robb said yesterday.

While critics of the Vienna announcement said the decision would undermine the non-proliferation efforts, Robb said Canberra needed to support India in efforts to produce greenhouse gas-free electricity.

"One of the first foreign policy acts of the Rudd government was to renege on a decision by the Howard government to help India supply greenhouse gas-free electricity to its growing population by providing uranium under an agreement being negotiated between the US and India," he said.

"Since that time, the Rudd Government has been humiliated into supporting the US-India agreement at meetings of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the NSG which effectively condoned the sale of uranium to India by other countries around the world," he added.