M A I N   N E W S

Manmohan discusses uranium sale with Oz PM

Bali, November 19
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard today made it clear that she would take forward her proposal to lift ban on uranium sale to India as she met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here.

Singh and Gillard, who are here to attend the ASEAN and East Asia Summits, had a 'pull-aside' meeting during which the issue figured. "I am taking the change of policy to my party conference in December," the Australian Prime Minister told reporters after the meeting.

Giving indications of overturning Australia's long-held position, Gillard on November 15 had said, "The (ruling) Labour Party's current platform prevents us from selling uranium to India, because it (New Delhi) is not part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). I believe the time has come for the Labour Party to change this position."

She gave three reasons for her decision. Firstly, exporting uranium to India would be good for the Australian economy and help create jobs. Uranium currently contributes over $ 750 million (Australian) to the Australian economy.

Secondly, she said. "Australia faces a unique set of opportunities in this -- the Asian century, where we live in the right region of the world which will see strong economic growth and India as a rising giant will be part of that strong economic growth, so put simply, our best possible partnership with India is also good for Australian jobs."

Gillard also added that dropping Australia's ban on uranium exports now "makes sense" when there was a "widely supported international strategy to bring India into the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)... but the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement changed that strategy, it effectively lifted the de-facto international ban on cooperation with India in this area."

"Consequently, given that change in diplomatic circumstances around the world, for us to refuse to budge is all pain with no gain and I believe that our national platform should recognise that reality," she had said.

After making the decision, Gillard had called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the next day on November 16 during which she informed him about the move.

Apparently she had also written a letter to him earlier this month in this regard, sources said.

Gillard's decision has created divisions in her government, with Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd expressing opposition to the move. PTI

The Assurance

I am taking the change of policy (to lift ban on sale of uranium to India) to my party conference in December.

Julia Gillard, Australian Prime Minister

Good For Australia

Exporting uranium to India would be good for the Australian economy.

It "makes sense" when there was a "widely supported international strategy to bring India into the NPT





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