External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Tuesday welcomed the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s proposal to seek a change in the ruling Australian Labour Party’s (ALP) stand on the supply of uranium to India.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the eleventh ministerial meeting of Indian Ocean Rim Association of Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), Mr. Krishna said, “We understand that Prime Minister Gillard is seeking a change in the Labour Party’s stand in recognition of our energy needs. Energy is one of the key areas of our bilateral cooperation with Australia.”

The Labour Government has insisted that it would supply uranium to India only if it signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Calling for a revision of her party’s stand, Ms. Gillard had, in a signed article published in The Age on Tuesday, said the supply of uranium to India would expand the market for uranium and result in more jobs in Australia. Ms. Gillard’s proposal is likely to be discussed at the ALP’s national conference in Sydney in December.

Mr. Krishna said Ms. Gillard’s call for a review of the Australian stand is based on India’s “impeccable record of nuclear non-proliferation” and the country’s “strategic partnership” with Australia. He said ties with Australia have “grown across the board.”

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