Melbourne: At pains to counter increasing hostile sentiments in India with respect to Australia, in particular its policy not to allow uranium exports, the Australian ambassador here in Delhi has stressed that the policy was "not anti-India" and it should not derail the growing bilateral relationship.
"Our policy on uranium sale is not anti-India policy but pro-NPT policy and we ought not make the whole relationship hostage to just one issue. And I don't think either government wants to see that," Peter Varghese, Australian High Commissioner to India, told a news agency here adding, "for the moment our policy stands and we continue to talk to Indian side".
In the recent past, ties between the two countries have been strained mainly on two counts - Australia's refusal to sell uranium to India and domestic violence against Indian students in here. The Labour Party's dogmatic stand on the issue related to uranium exports has been particularly offensive to the Delhi establishment as the Labour government under previous prime minister, Kevin Ruud, hastened to overturn a commitment by his predecessor John Howard to allow export of the ore to India.
India needs supplies of the ore desperately to feed its domestic civil nuclear programme.
Varghese was at pains to stress that Australia was now focusing on building a stronger relationship with India and that it was evident that there was a clear need to build a strong people-to-people relationship between both nations.
"I think we need to do a lot of work in regards to people-to-people relationship and student issue," he said.