Australia should be able get through all the Parliamentary and other processes to allow regulatory clearances to firms wanting to sell Australian uranium to India within the first half of next year, said Patrick Suckling, Australian High Commissioner to India, on Wednesday.
“The nuclear deal is done and is now going through various parliamentary and other processes. When that is done it will be the basis for commercial business between Australian and Indian entities wanting to import uranium to India. Both PMs are committed to that agreement. (It should be) sometime within the first half of next year. The objective is to do this as fast as possible,” the Envoy said.
Suckling said that a couple of Indian companies too had the right to undertake exploration for uranium in Australia but he did not give specific names.
Briefing newspersons on the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Australia for the G-20 Summit and a bilateral visit, the Envoy said Australia thinks that Modi will make a significant contribution to the G-20.
“We feel Modi’s domestic agenda is exactly the sort of agenda that G-20 is prioritising which is domestic ease of doing business (and) a big focus on infrastructure. Now if he takes these things, (and) we are sure he will, to the G-20 then we are convinced that India will play a positive and constructive leading role in the discussions,” Suckling said. Talking about the bilateral part of Modi’s visit, he said that the Indian Prime Minister will be the first Indian leader to address a joint session of the Australian Parliament, which will take place a a day after the Chinese President, Xi Jinping’s joint session address.
Suckling said that Australia and China could conclude a free trade agreement by the time the G-20 Summit gets underway, adding that if it goes through it would be the third comprehensive FTA that Australia will conclude this year. Australia has already entered into a FTA with Japan and Korea.
“The next one (FTA) is India and both PMs have said they want this FTA done within a year. So by the end of next year they want the agreement in place,’’ the Envoy said.
He said Australian investments in India stood at about $10 billion, although Suresh Prabhu, Sherpa to Modi for the G-20 meet had told newspersons that Australian companies had invested $600 million in India. Sherpa is a senior official responsible for preparing the agenda for leaders attending summits.
“It is true to say we have about $10 billion of investment which has been queuing up to get into India for a long time. Some since 1993 (are) yet to fructify. What we are very encouraged by (is that) under the new Government Modi wants to expedite investment and create an environment where those investments can flow more readily and quickly. To the extent that this happens we will see a lot more Australian investment coming in,” said Suckling.
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