Australian ex-PM supports move for uranium sale to India

December 3rd, 2011 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) Former Australian prime minister John Howard Saturday supported the move by his country’s governent to lift ban on sale of uranium to India, and said he would have pursued the same policy had his government been re-elected in 2007.

Speaking at an interactive session at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here, Howard said he had reached an understanding with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on sale of uranium during his visit to India in 2006 and would have pursued the decision if his government was re-elected.

“I strongly support the indication given by the current Australian government that it would lift the ban that was placed on uranium exports to India,” he said.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard told Manmohan Singh during their meeting on the sidelines of ASEAN and East Asia Summit that she would take forward her proposal to lift ban on uranium sales to India.

Gillard had said earlier that her ruling Labor Party’s platform prevents the government from selling uranium to India as it was not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) but that the time had come to change the position.

Howard said he strongly supported the move, but added that four years have been lost in the process.

“It always seemed absurd to me that we could sell uranium to China and Russia, but could not sell uranium to the largest democracy in the world,” he said.

To a question about incidents of attack on Indian students in Australia, Howard said the media here got a lot of its reports “wrong”, but added that any such violence was regrettable.

“There is full rigour of Australian law for attack on anybody,” he said.

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