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PM-Gillard in pull-aside meeting in Bali

November 19, 2011 13:27 IST

Days after she announced a change in Australia's policy of not selling uranium to India -- subject to her party's approval -- Prime Minister Julia Gillard had a "pull-aside" meeting with her Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in which she apprised him of the steps being taken by her government to go ahead with the move.

The decision will need to be endorsed by the ruling Labour Party in its conference next month. Briefing newsmen in Bali, Indian government sources said that if the decision was carried through, a

new nuclear deal need not be a signed with Canberra, a simple contract may suiffice.

In her justification for the change in policy, Gillard is believed to have given three reasons:  One, India's growing energy needs; two, New Delhi's impeccable non-proliferation record; and three, the strategic partnership between the two nations.

Interestingly, the strategic partnership was entered into during the prime ministership of Kevin Rudd who, in his subsequent avatar as the foreign minister, has taken to stridently opposing Gillard's policy turnaround.

Saisuresh Sivaswamy in Bali