Will watch with interest: Obama on possible Ind-Aus deal

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Barack Obama
Melbourne, Nov 16: Noting that India is a "big player" and the Australia-India relationship is one that should be cultivated, US President Barack Obama today said he will "watch with interest" to see whether Canberra decides to sell uranium to New Delhi.

Obama, who arrived in Australia today, however refuted media reports that said US had influenced Prime Minister Julia Gillard's turn on uranium exports to India.

"We have not had any influence I suspect on Australia's decision to explore what its relationship in terms of the peaceful use of nuclear energy in India might be," he was quoted by Australian Associated Press (AAP).

Obama indicated he would support such a move. "India is a big player and the Australia-India relationship is one that should be cultivated," he said.

"I don't think Julia or anybody else needs my advice in figuring that out". Obama said Gillard's plan seemed to be compatible with international law and the NPT.

"I will watch with interest what's determined," he said adding "But this is not something between the US and Australia, this is something between India and Australia".

Gillard had yesterday said Australia - one of the world's top uranium producers - cannot afford to miss out on the jobs and economic benefits a policy change would bring. She will take the policy shift to next month's annual ALP conference.

PTI

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