Australia in secret uranium talks with India

Canberra (Australia), Feb. 10 (ANI): The Australian Government is reportedly in secret negotiations with the Indian Government for the sale of uranium, though publicly it asserts that it cannot allow such exports as long as Delhi maintains a nuclear arsenal outside the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Resources, Energy and Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson told the US embassy in Canberra that "a deal to supply India with nuclear fuel could be reached in three to five years".

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Ferguson also said that the former prime minister and serving Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, had been "careful ... to leave the door open" for uranium sales to India.

Ferguson told Parliament that at a meeting last month with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna he had "reaffirmed that the position of the Australian government is that we are not in a position to sell uranium to India".

Asked by the Coalition foreign affairs spokeswoman, Julie Bishop, whether he had discussed with a foreign government the possibility of a deal to sell uranium to India within the next few years, Ferguson reaffirmed the government's support for the US civil nuclear co-operation agreement with India.

Ferguson said he "personally supported the US-India nuclear agreement" negotiated by the former Bush administration. (ANI)

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