Australia govt to review uranium sale to India

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Melbourne, Nov 25: With Labor Party taking over the reins in Canberra, Australia may reconsider the previous government's decision to sell uranium to India.

The outgoing Prime Minister John Howard announced in August this year that his government would export uranium to India, subject to certain pre-conditions. Various commentators believe that the Indo-Australian relations were headed for a 'sticky patch' under Labor.

Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister designate, is also believed to be against the idea of a potential alliance between the US, Australia, Japan and India on the grounds that China would feel encircled.

Labor, under the leadership of 50-year-old former diplomat Kevin Rudd has routed the Liberal Party led by John Howard for the last 12 and a half years, in the Federal elections held yesterday. The change of baton is being seen as a major shift in Australian foreign policy as the new Prime Minister is believed to be more inclined towards China than any other country.

The Mandarin-speaking Kevin Rudd has been an Australian diplomat in China for over eight years. He was also a scholar of Chinese history in his university days. Though Labor has promised to remain a ''rock solid'' friend of the US, the new leadership is still likely to be more proactive in pursuing relationship with Beijing than any predecessor government.

The political pundits believe that Kevin Rudd, who has promised to ''prioritise relationship with China'', would relegate India to its previous ignoble status at Beijing's behest.

The complete dumping of Howard government decision to sell uranium to India is likely to be the first signal in this exercise.

It is yet to be seen how Australia under new government handles the emergence of India as a major trading partner. While China is the most crucial factor in Australia's foreign trade, political observers believe that, Canberra cannot afford to treat India with anything but complete respect.


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