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Australia puts uranium deal with India on back burner

Source: PTI
October 17, 2007 09:38 IST
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With India virtually putting on hold its civilian nuclear agreement with the United States, Australia has decided to review its plans to sell uranium to New Delhi.

Efforts for a US-India nuclear pact, which would open India to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, paved the way for Australia's uranium deal with India.

Following reports that the negotiations for the operationalisation of the Indo-US deal have been stalled, a spokesman for Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Australia will need to consult New Delhi about the uranium deal.

The Opposition Labour party too reiterated its objection to the Australian government's plan to sell uranium to India. Labour party's environment spokesman Peter Garrett said, "Deal or no deal between India and the US, Labour won't support the sale of uranium to a country which hasn't signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty."

Senior analysts say that the US decision to work with India on nuclear issues triggered the Australian government's policy change to also engage with India.

"It was really only when the US turned around to accepting India's nuclear status that most of the rest of the world started contemplating a civilian nuclear relationship with India," said Garrett.

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