Selling uranium to India in Aus’ strategic interest: Mattoo

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Selling uranium to India is in Australia’s strategic and economic interest and it could completely transform bilateral ties strained by frequent attacks on Indian students in the country, leading academician Amitabh Mattoo has said.
Mattoo, who was recently appointed the director of Australia India Institute (AII), said that it was imperative for the Australian government to reverse their stand on uranium sale to India.
“Uranium issue is more of Australian domestic politics issue. It is of more of a Labor party issue and their relationship with Greens and impact of what happened in Japan. It is in Australia’s strategic and economic interest to export uranium to India.”he said
“The sooner the policy changes, the better will it be for the relationship. There is no doubt that the symbolically, there is only one issue that could transform the relationship it is uranium deal and I hope it happens,”Mattoo, who previously served as the vice chancellor of the University of Jammu, said.
Ruling Labor overturned a decision taken by former Prime Minister John Howard’s Liberal party in 2007 for an exception to allow uranium exports to India, which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Australia’s has world’s largest uranium reserves.
Padma Shree awardee Mattoo also advocated close defence ties between the two countries in the backdrop of China’s growing influence in Asia.
“I think both India and Australia have equal stake that China doesn’t become a hegemony,”he said.
“The closer cooperation is needed more to see if Asia is not dominated by any single power without trying to make Chinese feel uneasy that there is some ganging up happening,”he added.
He said Australia needs to rebuild its image as a competitive education destination after repeated attacks on Indian students in the country.
“AII can really see itself making a great difference between the two sides. It baffles everyone that why a single issue can derail the whole relationship like the students issue despite the fact that two countries have so much in common like human rights, democracy, multiculturalism, English language and increasing trade.”
“We can only correct misunderstanding and point out that these are isolated incidents through more and more interactions. There is not an anti-India sentiment here. Such incidents have happened because of peculiar circumstances,” he said. (PTI)