Uranium issue no barrier to India-Australia ties: Minister

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Chennai, Sep 9 (UNI) Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith today said relations with India would not be affected in the wake of Australia's decision not to supply Uranium to India despite the NSG waiver.

Speaking at an event co-presented by Australian High Commission and the CII here, he said the Australian Government's policy of not to supply uranium to non-NPT countries was well known and it remains the same.

''This position remains unaffected by the NSG decision'', he said and added that this also does not disturb Australia's ongoing approach to consider on a case-by-case basis applications for the export of dual-use items.

It may be recalled that the NSG had on September six adopted by consensus, a policy statement on civil nuclear cooperation with India that would enable civil nuclear supply to India by those NSG participating nations, who choose to do so.

Observing that Australia was mindful of India's profound need for energy and resources, Mr Smith said as one of the world's largest suppliers of energy and resources, Australia was working closely with India to promote trade in this sector.

''India is Australia's fastest growing export market, and energy and resources are the main drivers behind this growth'', he added.

He said Australia was positive and constructive in discussions in the NSG meetings on an India-specific exemption to the NSG Guidelines. ''Australia supported the NSG consensus and we welcome the outcome which, as well as the non-proliferation benefits, reflects India's rise as a significant power'', he added.

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