Indications that Australian Labour Party may review policy on uranium supplies to foreign buyers

India's renewed interest in buying Australian uranium is understood to have figured in External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna's talks with Australia's Minister for Resources, Energy, and Tourism, Martin Ferguson, in Melbourne on Wednesday.

In a parallel development, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, said he would, in his talks with Mr. Krishna on Thursday, “underline Australia's commitment of being a long-term supplier of natural resources to India to support its economic growth trajectory.”

No specifics

Mr. Rudd did not, however, specify whether the promise of such supplies to India would cover Australian uranium as well. Instead, Mr. Rudd noted that “as the dynamic Indian economy develops, India's need for [Australia's] resources and services will also grow.” Currently, Australia practices a policy of not supplying uranium to countries that have not acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In his talks with Mr. Ferguson, Mr. Krishna was assisted by Secretary (East), Latha Reddy; High Commissioner Sujatha Singh; and Adviser Raghavendra Shastry.

The External Affairs Minister raised the sensitive uranium issue by suitably acknowledging Australia's current position, said Mr. Shastry over the telephone.

It is understood that India's renewed interest in Australia's uranium flows from the political indications that the ruling Australian Labour Party might, at its internal conference later this year, review the country's overall policy on uranium supplies to foreign buyers.

Mr. Krishna's agenda — during his three-day visit, which began on Wednesday — includes the issues of security and quality education for the Indian students in Australia.

To call on Gillard

Mr. Krishna is expected to call on Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard as well

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