India asks Australia to show progress in nuclear energy

Thursday, January 20, 2011

MELBOURNE - As Canberra sticks to its ban on selling uranium to New Delhi, India Thursday made it clear to Australia that the full potential of their strategic partnership would not be realised without some progress in the area of nuclear energy.

“While the relationship is progressing well, I think it is important to realise that the strategic partnership will not reach its full potential without some progress being made in the area of nuclear energy,” India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said here.

“I would be interested in hearing from you on how you see the issue evolving in Australia over the next few months,” Krishna told his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd as the two ministers began the framework dialogue to discuss a wide swathe of bilateral and regional issues that will include prospects of uranium sale.

Krishna is on a three-day visit to Australia from Tuesday.

Ahead of the talks, India Tuesday had urged Australia to revisit its stand on not selling uranium to it and expressed hope that there will be a change soon. The access to uranium is a core issue for us, he added. Australia has struck to its position of not selling uranium to countries which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Krishna also announced that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would visit Perth in Australia to attend the next Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting in October this year and hold a bilateral summit.

“Your prime minister has invited our PM to attend and to combine this with a bilateral visit. Our prime minister has accepted the invitation in principle and is looking forward to the visit. We very much hope that this works out,” he said.

“If this visit takes place, it would be a very important visit - the first prime ministerial visit to Australia in 25 years,” he said, adding that the trip “would provide a significant opportunity to take our bilateral relations to a significant level.”

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