No change in decision to supply uranium to India: Australian

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New Delhi, Sept 16: Australia today assured India that there will be no change in the decision by the previous government on supplying uranium to India. Australian High Commissioner Patrick Suckling said the next round of talks between the two countries to firm up a safeguard agreement for sale of uranium to India is likely to take place before end of the year.

The two rounds of talks, held earlier this year on the issue, had gone "very well and it was positive and constructive from both sides", he said.

The High Commissioner was speaking about policies of Australia's new conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who unveiled his first cabinet today. Abbott won the September 7 election on the promises of stronger economic management.

"The intention of both the sides is to try and finish the safeguard agreement as fast as possible," he said Suckling said Abbott has already stated that Australia has significant relationship on security and strategic issues with India and he would like to continue with that relationship.

"We feel we have made good progress. But we have not put a time-frame for the negotiations to conclude because sometimes even the straight-looking issues become complex," he told reporters.

In December 2011, Australia's then ruling Labour Party led by Julia Gillard had cleared the way for export of Australian uranium to India after a strong debate on the floor of the party's national conference. Australia's known uranium resources are the world's largest - 31 per cent of the globe's total.

The High Commissioner said India should ensure that uranium would be used for peaceful purposes and not military purposes. He said that Australia would like to further expand cooperation with India in areas like infrastructure, education, agri-business, bio-tech, pharma and information technology.

"In agri-business area, we would like share our expertise on productivity, yield and food processing, transportation of foodgrains, stocking," he said.


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