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Uranium sale to India: Downer dismisses proliferation concerns

Source: PTI
August 27, 2007 18:16 IST
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Australia on Monday dismissed the concerns raised by a former United Nations weapons inspector about its decision to export uranium to India.

UN weapons inspector Hans Blix had said that Australian uranium sales could make it easier for India to use its own uranium to create bomb-grade material. This will lead to heightened tensions in the region and safeguards will be needed against that risk, said Blix.

However, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said that the sale of uranium will not free up India's other resources for weapons development.

Dismissing the proliferation fears expressed by Blix, Downer said that the same argument can also be used against the other countries Australia exports uranium to.

"If the argument is that we shouldn't export uranium to any country that has nuclear weapons, I don't think that's right," he said.

"I think they will have nuclear weapons anyway, whether we exported uranium or not," Downer added.

Blix supported Australia's decision to export uranium to India, but only for energy production. The veteran Swedish diplomat, who was here to address a UN function, led weapons inspections in Iraq in 2003.

He has earlier criticised the US and Britain for exaggerating Iraq's cache of weapons of mass destruction and their decision to invade the country.

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