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India, Australia to soon finalise nuclear deal

There is political agreement that we will conclude the deal, said Australian High Commissioner Patrick Suckling.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: February 21, 2014 4:52:11 am

In a big boost to bilateral ties, Australia on Monday said negotiations on a civil nuclear pact for export of uranium to India were proceeding well and the two countries are keen to finalise the deal soon.

“We haven’t put a time frame for the negotiations but are making good progress. There is political agreement that we will conclude the deal,” said Australian High Commissioner Patrick Suckling.

The fourth round of negotiations on the civil nuclear deal concluded last week in Canberra, Suckling said, adding that significant progress has been made during the talks. “We are hopeful that we will be able to conclude it as soon as possible,” he added. India is now expected to give an assurance to Australia that the uranium will be used only for peaceful nuclear purposes and not for military purposes.

Pointing out that the Tony Abbott government was committed to firm up the agreement with India and there was strong political support for the pact within Australia, which is one of the largest exporter of uranium, Suckling further said, “From the policy position, there has been no issue. So both the governments are negotiating to give effect to the policy decision.”

India hopes to import Australian uranium to feed its nuclear power plants. However, Australia, a key member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group was earlier opposed to the plan since India has not signed the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty but had reversed its policy in 2011.

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