Melbourne, Jan. 19 (PTI): Australia has said India must sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty before buying uranium from the island nation.
The treaty says that only the US, Britain, France, Russia and China — all members of the UN Security Council — may possess nuclear weapons. India, Pakistan and Israel have long argued that the agreement creates a club of nuclear powers.
Regarding the export of uranium to India, the policy of the Australian government is clear — we will only supply uranium to countries that are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and have signed a bilateral agreement with Australia, energy minister Martin Ferguson said.
This is not a policy specific to India, it applies equally to all countries, Ferguson, who discussed with Krishna a range of energy sector issues, was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press.
During the meeting, external affairs minister S.M. Krishna, here on a three-day visit, renewed Indias long-standing request for buying Australian uranium.
He urged the Australian government to reverse its policy of not selling uranium to India.
The external affairs minister said after his meeting with Ferguson that the talks were by and large in the context of India-Australia relationship, with particular reference to the energy aspects.
With a kind of growth that we have been seeing in India in the last few years, our energy requirements are increasing by the day, as a result of which now we have various possibilities of collaborating with those countries which have uranium, coal and other facilities, Krishna said.
So we discussed the entire gamut of the energy requirement of India and what Australia can do in term of helping us out, said Krishna, who was accompanied by Indian high commissioner Sujata Singh.
Peter Varghese, Australian high commissioner to India, was also present during the meeting.
During the meeting, Australia conveyed its willingness for Indian companies to invest in its coal and energy sector, apart from assuring additional supply of coal to India, Indian officials said.