Aussie Oppn leader pitches for Uranium sale to India

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Sydney, Jan 1 (UNI) Australian Opposition leader Brendan Nelson has reiterated the calls for the country to sell Uranium to India to help New Delhi reduce its carbon footprint.

The call comes at a time when fears of instability on the subcontinent were being raised following last week's assassination of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

In August, the Howard government made an in-principle agreement to sell uranium to India on the condition that it will be used for peaceful purposes and that India sign a civil nuclear co-operation agreement with the United States.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, however, has vowed not to proceed with uranium sales to India until it becomes a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

''India was a major emitter of greenhouse gases with growing energy needs, so it's important that we proceed with uranium sales,'' he was quoted by The Age as saying.

''I don't believe Australia selling or not selling (uranium to India) will make any material difference (to the stability of the subcontinent,'' he said.

He said Mr Rudd could not on one hand agree to interim and long-term targets for cutting emissions without ''assisting a nation like India, with burgeoning energy demands, to reduce its carbon footprint''.

He said it was important that Australia proceed with the agreement made with India by the Howard government.

UNI XC YA MIR KP1215

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