Oz rejects India''s request for uranium sale

Posted By: Pti
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Natasha Chaku

Melbourne, Jan 19 (PTI) Refusing to budge from itspolicy, Australia today rejected India''s request for the saleof uranium.

"Regarding the export of uranium to India, the policy ofthe Australian government is clear - we will only supplyuranium to countries that are signatories to the NuclearNon-Proliferation Treaty and have signed a bilateral agreementwith Australia," Australia''s Resource, Energy and TourismMinister Martin Ferguson said after his meeting with visitingExternal Affairs Minister S M Krishna.

"This is not a policy specific to India, it appliesequally to all countries," Ferguson, who discussed withKrishna a range of energy sector issues, was quoted as sayingby the Australian Associated Press.

During the meeting, Krishna, who is here on a three-dayvisit, renewed India''s long-standing request for buying theAustralian uranium.

He urged the Australian government to reverse its policyof not selling uranium to India.

The External Affairs Minister said after his meeting withFerguson that the talks were by and large in the context ofIndia-Australia relationship, with particular reference to theenergy aspects.

"With a kind of growth that we have been seeing in Indiain the last few years, our energy requirements are increasingby the day, as a result of which now we have variouspossibilities of collaborating with those countries which haveuranium, coal and other facilities," Krishna said.

"So we discussed the entire gamut of the energyrequirement of India and what Australia can do in term ofhelping us out," said Krishna, who was accompanied by IndianHigh Commissioner Sujata Singh and Secretary (East) VijayLatha Reddy.

Australian High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese wasalso present during the meeting.

During the meeting, Australia conveyed its willingnessfor Indian companies to invest in its coal and energy sector,apart from assuring additional supply of coal to India,Indian officials said.

Australia also expressed its interest in fundinginfrastructure projects in India, they said.

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, who will meetKrishna tomorrow for the seventh ministerial FrameworkDialogue, said that Australia''s relationship with India wasone of its most important.

"India is the world''s largest democracy and a majorpower," he said, adding "this annual minister-level dialogueis testament to the strength of the bilateral political andeconomic relationship." PTI NC PYK KIM AKJ

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