India asks Oz to reverse policy of not selling uranium to it

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Natasha Chaku

Melbourne, Jan 19 (PTI) Citing its growth and huge energyrequirements, India today pressed Australia to reverse thepolicy of not selling uranium to it, even as authorities hereinsisted they would not budge from their stand on the issue.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who is here on athree-day visit, met Australia''s Resource, Energy and TourismMinister Martin Ferguson and renewed India''s long-standingrequest for buying the Australian uranium.

Krishna urged the Australian government to reverse itspolicy of not selling uranium to India.

Australia''s ruling Labor refuses to sell uranium tocountries which have not signed the Nuclear Non-ProliferationTreaty (NPT).

After the meeting, the External Affairs Minister saidthe talks were by and large in the context of India-Australiarelationship, with particular reference to the energyaspects.

"With a kind of growth that we have been seeing in Indiain the last few years, our energy requirements are increasingby the day, as a result of which now we have variouspossibilities of collaborating with those countries which haveuranium, coal and other facilities," Krishna said.

"So we discussed the entire gamut of the energyrequirement of India and what Australia can do in term ofhelping us out," said Krishna, who was accompanied by IndianHigh Commissioner Sujata Singh and Secretary (East) VijayLatha Reddy.

Australian High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese wasalso present during the meeting.

However, the Australian government maintained its standon not selling uranium to India as the country was not asignatory to the NPT.

"Regarding the export of uranium to India, the policy ofthe Australian government is clear - we will only supplyuranium to countries that are signatories to the NuclearNon-Proliferation Treaty and have signed a bilateral agreementwith Australia," Ferguson, who discussed with Krishna a rangeof energy sector issues, was quoted as saying by theAustralian Associated Press.

"This is not a policy specific to India, it appliesequally to all countries," he said.

Ferguson said he welcomed Krishna''s visit here. (More)PTI NC KIM AKJ

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