Brazil, South Africa ready to sell uranium to India

October 15th, 2008 - 8:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) More than a month after a global cartel lifted an embargo on atomic trade with New Delhi, Brazil and South Africa Wednesday vigorously supported civil nuclear cooperation with India and agreed to sell it uranium. The leaders of IBSA welcomed the “consensus decision of the IAEA Board of Governors to approve the India-specific safeguards agreement and the decision by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to adjust its guidelines to enable full civilian nuclear cooperation between India and the international community,” said the Delhi Declaration adopted the end of the third IBSA summit.

Pushing for international civilian nuclear cooperation under appropriate International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, the three countries underlined the importance of non-polluting nuclear energy to combat climate change.

“We have no objections to selling uranium to India,” South African President Kgalema Motlanthe told reporters when asked whether his country will sell uranium to India after the Sep 6 NSG waiver allowed New Delhi to resume atomic trade after 34 years.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva sidestepped the question as he chose to focus on the global financial crisis. But a senior Brazilian official told IANS that Brazil will be “happy” to sell uranium to India as it actively campaigned for liberating New Delhi from global nuclear restrictions.

Both South Africa and Brazil have huge reserves of uranium and are planning a major expansion of their civilian nuclear power plants.

South Africa’s support for civil nuclear cooperation is specially significant as it gave up its incipient atomic weapons programme in the 1990s to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later took up the issue of civil nuclear cooperation with the leaders of Brazil and South Africa during bilateral talks with them on the sidelines of the IBSA summit.

The IBSA countries also agreed to scale up their trilateral trade to $25 billion by 2015 as they joined hands to push for reforms of the UN, G8 and international financial institutions in the wake of the global financial crisis that has also begun to impact the developing world.

The IBSA, which brings together the three economic powerhouses from Asia, Africa and Latin America, also signed seven pacts in areas ranging from environment, commerce, maritime projects to tourism, gender equality and human settlements.

Manmohan Singh underlined the need for greater South-South solidarity to address pressing global issues ranging from terrorism and financial crisis to climate change and food and energy security.

Hailing IBSA as “an effective model of South-South cooperation”, Manmohan Singh also underlined the need for greater cooperation among the three countries for the satisfactory conclusion of the Doha round of negotiations in a manner that promotes development and inclusive growth.

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