Australian PM to meet Manmohan Singh

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New Delhi, Nov 12 (ANI): Australian Prime Minister (PM) Kevin Rudd will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this evening and will discuss issues of bilateral and international importance.

Rudd, who arrived here last night on a two-day visit, is expected to hold talks on maritime security.

Both leaders will sign agreements on maritime security and counter- terrorism measures.

Both leaders could also declare the start of negotiations for a free trade agreement.

Energy starved India, which is pressing hard to ensure sufficient nuclearuel supply for its drying nuclear reactors, is likely to persuade Rudd to sell uranium to it.

Australia is one of the largest uranium producers of the world and its Olympic Dam mine (in south Australia) alone has the capacity to produce 35 per cent of the world's uranium. Its reserves could last for 100-150 years.

India derives consolation from the fact that Australia had supported India in getting clean waiver at the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) and also at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last year.

However, in spite of exemptions and lifting of sanctions on India for doing nuclear trade, Canberra is sticking to " No Uranium Sale to India" on the ground that India is non-signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Australia is not only one of the largest reservoirs of uranium; it also possesses huge reserves of clean coal and natural gas, which India is eyeing on.

Off late, Australia and India have signed first long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply deal with India, with India"s Petronet LNG signing a 20-year agreement to take gas from the massive Gorgon project. (ANI)

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