Melbourne: Media reports in Australia now suggest that the minority Labour government in power may move to mend fences with India and review its long standing, and very controversial, ban on uranium exports to this rising Asian power. This reversal of a longstanding Labour policy may occur later in the year at the Labour Party's annual conference.
"Later this year, the (Julia) Gillard Government is likely to take two very big decisions affecting relations with the US and India. It will provide much greater access for US military forces to northern Australia. This could ultimately lead to US ships being based in Australia.
"And it will likely lift the ban on selling Australian uranium to India. Both decisions should be seen against the backdrop of China," The Australian said.
The article's author, and an expert on foreign affairs, Greg Sheridan, said: "I now believe senior ministers within the Gillard government will make a serious attempt to change this policy at Labor Party's national conference in December."
According to Sheridan, such a resolution could take one of two forms, it could simply allow an exception for India, with appropriate safeguards or allow federal cabinet the authority to make an exception where it wants to, provided various safeguards were met.
"Earlier this year, Indian foreign minister SM Krishna met the Australian authorities including resources minister Martin Ferguson where the uranium talks were raised."
The Australian Labour Party has long postured about not selling uranium to India, citing its policy of exporting the resource only to signatories of the NPT.
Sheridan pointed out the sheer pointlessness of the Labour Party's position as all big nuclear nations were already offering nuclear trade to India, with the US signing a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with that country.