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Determined to honour pact on uranium supply: Namibia

President Pranab Mukherjee with his Namibian counterpart Hage Geingobduring a reception at the State House in Windhoek on Thursday. Photo: PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee with his Namibian counterpart Hage Geingobduring a reception at the State House in Windhoek on Thursday. Photo: PTI  

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President Pranab Mukherjee is in Namibia, the last leg of his three-nation six-day Africa tour

Reiterating its commitment to honour the 2009 pact to supply uranium to India at the earliest, Namibia has asked New Delhi to enter into similar agreements with other countries to convince the member-states of the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty (ANWFZT).

Namibia, a member of ANWFZT, is barred from supplying uranium to India as the latter is not a member of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT. Namibia is the fourth largest producer of uranium.

The ANWFZT, also known as the Treaty of Pelindaba, is named after South Africa’s main Nuclear Research Centre, run by The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation. It was the location where South Africa’s atomic bombs of the 1970s were developed, constructed and subsequently stored.

The sale of uranium to India was one of the main topics on the agenda of discussion between the President Pranab Mukherjee and his Namibian counterpart Hage Geingob at the delegation-level talks. Mr. Mukherjee is on a two-day visit to Namibia, the last leg of his three-nation six-day Africa tour.

Win-win situation

Briefing the media on the outcome of the talks, Secretary (Economic Relations) Amar Sinha said that Namibia was keen on supplying uranium to India as part of the civil nuclear cooperation, for augmenting its resources. “Sale of uranium by Namibia to India can change the trade dynamics between the two countries. It is a win-win situation,” the Secretary remarked.

So far, India has signed civil nuclear cooperation agreements with 12 countries, including the United States, Russia, Korea and Japan. It was agreed at Mr. Mukherjee’s meeting with his Namibian counterpart that India would soon send a team of experts to explain the details of nuclear civil cooperation deals with other countries.

According to the officials at the meeting, the Namibian President suggested that the Indian firms could explore the possibility of uranium mining in his country.

Addresses Parliament

Among the other engagements of the President during the day was an address to the Namibian Parliament. Mr. Mukherjee told them that it was India that inscribed on the agenda of the UN General Assembly in 1946 the problem of colonial oppression and racial discrimination in South Africa and Namibia. He also addressed the students of Namibia University of Science and Technology.



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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 9:56:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/Determined-to-honour-pact-on-uranium-supply-Namibia/article14426539.ece

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