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India Wants South African Uranium

India hopes to acquire uranium from South Africa, which is party to a treaty that bars signatories from conducting nuclear trade with states that do not have a full-scale safeguards agreement in place with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Indo-Asian News Service reported on Tuesday (see GSN, Oct. 13).

Discussions on the uranium supply are under way, even though nuclear-armed India does not allow comprehensive monitoring of its atomic facilities and is not a member state to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, said New Delhi's ambassador to South Africa, Virendra Gupta.

"It appears to us that there will need to be an exception" to the African Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, Gupta said (see GSN, May 6).

"But it will not be difficult. We have civil nuclear agreements with several countries. I don't see any reason why we can't do it here," the envoy added.

He spoke in Pretoria following a summit between the leaders of India, South Africa and Brazil. The three heads of state issued a statement that seemingly addressed India as a reasonable nuclear actor.

"The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the goal of the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons within a specified time frame, in a comprehensive, universal, nondiscriminatory, verifiable and irreversible manner," according to the statement from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, South African President Jacob Zuma and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

"Brazil and South Africa welcomed India's engagement with, and interest in, participation in the relevant international multilateral export control regimes and utilization of their guidelines," the declaration adds (see GSN, Jan. 31; Arvind Padmanabhan, Indo-Asian News Service/Yahoo!News, Oct. 18).

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