Oz: Krishna's urge for uranium over N-agenda

SM Krishna
Melbourne, Jan 20: S M Krishna, the External Affairs Minster met his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd on Jan 20 again made a strong pitch to lift ban on uranium sale to India insisting that nuclear power is necessary for energy starved developing countries.

Krishna arrived at the Royal Society of Victoria to attend the seventh round of ministerial dialogue with Rudd.

Earlier, in a wide-ranging interview with ''The Age'', he said, "Climate change demands we aim at clean energy. It has been accepted by experts that nuclear power is the cleanest power, and India is committed to pursue its nuclear power expansion."

"I think it is necessary that we engage Australia in a continuing dialogue about this question. Here is a situation where you are endowed with enormous deposits of uranium and there is a whole world which is starving for energy - especially the developing countries, and more specifically India," he said.

"India, with the best of intentions, we want energy, nuclear energy," he said, noting the country had already struck nuclear technology agreements with the US, France, Canada and Argentina.

He also said that despite India's test of an atomic weapon, the country could be trusted as a responsible nuclear power.

Krishna on Jan 19 held talks with Australia's Resource, Energy and Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson on uranium sales. After the meeting, Ferguson rejected India's request for the sale of uranium.

Australia has one of the world's largest yellowcake deposits - the fuel for nuclear reactors - but refuses to export to countries that are not signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Ruling Labor overturned a John Howard-era promise in 2007 for an exception to allow exports to India, a decision that reportedly sparked widespread official anger in India.

But Krishna insisted the issue had not disturbed bilateral ties.

Besides, Krishna said India hoped to reach a 10 percent economic growth rate in the coming year and the resulting explosion of energy needs would be met by moving away from coal-fired power stations.


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