Time to lift ban on uranium supply to India: Gillard

Press Trust of India Melbourne/Bangalore | Updated on March 12, 2018

The Australian Prime Minister, Ms Julia Gillard, with the Minister for Commerce and Industry, Mr Anand Sharma.

It will be ‘good for the Australian economy and jobs'

The Australian Prime Minister, Ms Julia Gillard, today made a strong pitch for uranium sale to India, saying the time has come to lift the long-standing ban on its exports to the dynamic and democratic country.

“I believe the time has come for the Labor Party to change this position.... Selling uranium to India will be good for the Australian economy and good for Australian jobs,” she told reporters.

Pushing the Party

Ms Gillard said she will urge her party members at next month's national meet to reverse a ban on uranium exports to India, bringing Australia into line with US's thinking.

India welcomed the move, with the External Affairs Minister, Mr S.M. Krishna, saying that New Delhi attaches great importance to its ties with Canberra which are growing across the board.

“We welcome Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's proposal to seek a change in Australia's Labor Party's policies and sale of uranium to India in recognition of our energy needs for the impeccable record in non-proliferation and strategic partnership between two nations,” he told reporters in Bangalore.

“India is our fourth biggest export markets, a market worth nearly $16 billion to Australia, with enormous potential to grow as India becomes wealthier,” Ms Gillard said.

“As India rises and brings hundreds of millions of people out of poverty it will need more energy. We are a very big supplier of uranium so having access to this new and growing market is good for Australian jobs.”

Ms Gillard said lifting the ban was another step forward in Australia's relationship with India.

It came at a time when Australia faced a unique set of opportunities in what she called the “Asian century“.

“India as a rising giant will be part of that strong economic growth,” she said.

Australia is the world's third largest supplier of uranium, which contributed more than $750 million to the economy and created more than 4,200 jobs.

India is expected to increase its use of nuclear power from 3 per cent of electricity generation to 40 per cent by 2050, Ms Gillard said.

Her remarks indicate a major shift in Australia's policy with regard to uranium sale to a country which is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

She said India was in a class of its own, unlike Israel and Pakistan. The three countries have not signed the treaty.

“As in other areas, broadening our markets will increase jobs. We must, of course, expect of India the same standards we do of all countries for uranium export ….,” she said.

Published on November 15, 2011

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