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Australia Preparing For Uranium Sales to India

Australia is setting domestic plans for delivering uranium to India, the Press Trust of India reported last week (see GSN, May 25).

Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna met with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr to discuss the matter on the margins of last week's regional security forum hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia.

"As you are aware, [the ruling Australian] Labor Party had earlier decided to reverse its policy and supply uranium to India," Indian agency spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said.  "Mr. Carr informed the external affairs minister that they are in the process of working out internal arrangements which will enable them to give effect to this policy of the Labor Party and as a government they will finalize this (arrangement) and come to India shortly with the draft."

Krishna told Carr he was grateful of the attention Canberra was giving the matter and that "he looks forward to the government of Australia providing the next steps in this efforts," Akbaruddin said.

The Labor Party's December 2011 decision to support uranium exports to India, which possesses nuclear arms outside the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, proved controversial. Canberra has promised that any uranium accord with New Delhi would include strict safeguards aimed at ensuring the nuclear material is not diverted from civilian operations to the South Asian country's nuclear weapons production program (Press Trust of India/Economic Times, July 11).

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