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Aus defence minister rules out uranium export to Pak

December 06, 2011 12:45 IST
Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith, who had pitched for reversing ruling Labor party's policy on uranium export to India, has ruled out similar treatment to Pakistan, citing its poor proliferation record.

Strongly backing Labor Party's decision on Sunday to export uranium to India despite it being a non-signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, Smith said he did not support uranium exports to Pakistan.

Smith, who is set to leave for India today, said he was a strong supporter of uranium export to India, calling it an exceptional case.

"India brought itself under the governance of the international nuclear regulators, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group," Smith said.

"That has not occurred with Pakistan. There has never been a suggestion of (nuclear) proliferation from India," he said adding, "Regrettably, over preceding years, there have been serious concerns about proliferation from Pakistan." He expressed hope that Pakistan would understand the decision and that it would not affect military ties between the two nations.

"Pakistan would understand the decision and that it would not affect military ties between the two nations, especially in their cooperation in the war in Afghanistan," he said adding, "I don't see this decision as having an adverse outcome, so far as the Australia-Pakistan relationship is concerned."

On his fourth visit to India, Smith said the aim of the trip is to strengthen military ties and discuss defence and security cooperation. "This will be my fourth visit to India as a minister in the Australian government but my first visit as minister for defence," he said.

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