India welcomes Labor Party move on uranium sale

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New Delhi: India yesterday welcomed the move of Australia’s ruling Labor Party to remove a ban on uranium exports to the country, saying that bilateral cooperation in the energy sector is one of the important facets of multifaceted bilateral ties.

Indian External Affairs Minister, S. M. Krishna, said that the government welcomes the initiative of Australia’s Labor Party.

“It is learnt that the Australian Labour Party agreed to allow sale of uranium to India for power generation. Bilateral cooperation in the energy sector is one of the important facets of our multifaceted ties with Australia. We welcome this initiative,” Krishna said on his way to Bonn to attend the conference on Afghanistan, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

Australia’s ruling party passed a motion to remove a ban on uranium sales to India after a passionate debate on the issue that saw sharp divisions in the cabinet.

The party had imposed the ban on export to non-signatories of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) like India four decades back.

Labor delegates voted to overturn the uranium sale ban after a passionate debate in the national conference being held in Sydney. While 216 delegates voted in favour of uranium export to India, 185 Labor representatives expressed opposition to any such move.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard had urged that Australia should sell uranium to India to boost trade and also to enhance bilateral ties. “We are at the right time in the history of the world to seize a new era of opportunity in this, the Asian century,” she said while addressing the Labor National Conference on Sunday.

Gillard had told Prime Minister 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.