Australia overturns India uranium export ban | Pakistan Today

Australia overturns India uranium export ban

Australia’s ruling Labor party voted Sunday to lift a long-standing ban on exporting uranium to India after a passionate debate about nuclear weapons and reactor safety following Japan’s quake crisis.
Labor passed Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s proposal with 206 votes to 185, reversing a decades-old policy excluding New Delhi from Australia’s uranium trade because it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Gillard argued that it was neither rational nor intellectually defensible to sell uranium to rising powers such as China and not to India, “the world’s largest democracy” and a fast-growing nation of increasing global clout.
“Let’s just face facts here – our refusal to sell uranium to India is not going to cause India to decide that it will no longer have nuclear weapons,” Gillard told the Labor summit.
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd warned that India would need to meet “onerous” conditions before trade could begin and said it would be “a very long, detailed and, I think, tough negotiation.”
Although Australia does not use nuclear power, it is the world’s third-ranking uranium producer behind Kazakhstan and Canada, exporting 9,600 tonnes of oxide concentrate each year worth more than Aus$1.1 billion. It also has the world’s largest reserves of uranium, holding 23 percent of the total, according to the World Nuclear Association.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith backed Gillard’s proposal, saying India had voluntarily submitted to civilian nuclear checks by international regulators and was a “rising power… which is deserving of being accorded that status”. New Delhi agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and abide by International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards under a 2005 agreement with the United States which Gillard has cited as a precedent for her decision.
Peter Garrett, former frontman for the rock band Midnight Oil, got a standing ovation for his impassioned speech, as did Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, who criticised the move following Japan’s Fukushima reactor disaster. “Nine months after Fukushima we are being asked to sell more uranium for more nuclear reactors to a country that does not have nuclear safeguards,” Albanese said.
Anti-nuclear campaigners said it was a “major blow to the global nuclear non-proliferation regime”. “The Labor Party has put profits before the peace and security of the region,” said Tim Wright, Australian director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

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One Comment;

  1. fahim said:

    This is pure economic driven decision , who cares as long as India is providing economic oppertunity if this is to help Aussies make better living then why not. and i am sure pakistan will not be delt in same manner as we are judge on different parameters.

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