Australia and India are to sign a nuclear agreement Friday allowing the latter to purchase uranium for civilian nuclear use, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said here.
“Prime Minister Modi and I will today sign a nuclear cooperation agreement that will finally allow Australian uranium to India,” he said while addressing a meeting of industry chambers Confederation of Indian Industry, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Abbott arrived here Friday amidst expectations that the two countries will sign the nuclear deal, deepen strategic ties and strengthen two-way trade and commerce.
“I am hoping to sign a nuclear co-operation agreement that will enable uranium sales by Australia to India,” Abbott had told the Australian Parliament on the eve of his visit to India.
He said that if Australia was prepared to sell uranium to Russia, then “surely we ought to be prepared to provide uranium to India under suitable safeguards”, pointing out that it was a “fully functioning democracy with the rule of law”.
Australia, which holds almost a third of the world’s known uranium reserves, had banned exporting uranium to India as New Delhi is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The efforts to sign civil nuclear deal have been underway since 2012 after Labour party in Australia reversed its decision to ban the sale of uranium to India.