India asks Australia to revisit its uranium supply policy

Posted By: Ani
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New Delhi, Jan 18 (ANI): As External Affairs Minister S M Krishna embarks on his two-day visit to Australia beginning tomorrow, New Delhi expects that Canberra should re look into its policy of not supplying uranium to India, which is not the signatory of Non Proliferation treaty.

Australia, which has one of the highest reserves of uranium has been taking a consistent position that uranium could be only supplied to the countries, which are signatory to the Non Proliferation treaty.

Australia, however, has backed India in getting a waiver at Nuclear Suppliers group and IAEA in 2008.

Australian High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese recently said: "Australia was willing to discuss the issue of uranium sale if India brought it up during External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna's visit."

India has asked Australia to relook into the ban on supplying uranium to India.

Joint Secretary (South) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Arun Goel said: "Uranium supplies remains a core issue for us, we are hopeful in the near future Australia is in a position to review it stand."

"We have evinced interest we are ready when our Australian friends are ready especially on the issue of furthering understanding on civil nuclear energy cooperation," added Ministry of External Affairs Official Spokesperson Vishnu Prakash.

During his visit beginning tomorrow, Krishna is scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd for the seventh round of a framework dialogue between the two nations.

But the first scheduled meeting during his two-day trip will be with Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, when Krishna is expected to once again lobby hard for Australia to sell uranium to India.

During his two-day visit, SM Krishna is also expected to discuss issues pertaining to the security of Indian students studying in Australia.

"There has been a steep fall of 30 percent in the number of Indian students going to Australia. The number of Indian students going to Australia dropped from 67,974 in 2009 to 42,447 last year," said Vishnu Prakash.

The Ministry of External Affairs officials, however, believe that it is not only the racial attacks, but also the appreciation of Australian dollar due to which a large number of Indian students going to Australia nose-dived.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, is also expected to visit Australia in October to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) summit. (ANI)

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