Australia on Wednesday said it will stand by its decision of not allowing export of uranium to India unless New Delhi signs Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Ruling out any “rethinking” on the issue,Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Evans said Australia will not review its policy on export of uranium to India unless it signs the treaty.
“The government policy in relation to export of uranium is that we export it to signatories of NPT only. It is not a question of a decision about India or any other country,” Evans said in New Delhi.
New Delhi has been maintaining that its commitment to non-proliferation is ‘second to none’ and so Australia should review its decision of not selling the yellow cake to India.
The previous Conservative party government in Australia had in principle agreed to export uranium but the Labour government has some strong views on the issue.
Explaining his Government’s stand,Evans said exporting uranium to other countries has been a “controversial” issue in Australia’s politics.
“Probably inside India,there is not a large understanding of how controversial the issue of uranium export has been in Australia’s politics. It is been something which dominated debates in Labour party for a long time,” he said.
Interestingly,Australia,the world’s biggest repository of uranium,had supported the lifting of embargo on civil nuclear trade with India at last year’s meeting of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Describing India as a “key ally” for Australia,Evans said the relations between the two countries have been expanding at a rapid pace.
“When we look across the breadth and depth of the relationship between our countries,we see very strong and expanding people-to-people,governmental and economic links,” he said.
He said the agreement signed between the two countries last year to take the relationship to the level of a “strategic partnership reflected our common view of the importance of our relationship and its great potential for strengthening in the future.”
Evans is here to reassure New Delhi about the Australian Government’s commitment to provide full security to the Indian students who have been facing attacks in that country.