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Australian PM Julia Gillard assures Delhi on uranium ban lift news
21 November 2011

Bali: The Australian Labour Party government's U-turn on sale of uranium ore to India received further traction with Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh and Australian prime minister Julia Gillard holding a warm meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit here.

Already under some pressure with senior Cabinet members, like foreign minister Kevin Rudd, critical of the change in stance, Gillard appeared unfazed saying, "I am taking the change of policy to my party conference in December."

On 15 November, through an op-ed piece in a leading Australian daily, Gillard surprised many by announcing she wanted to change Labour Party's long-standing opposition to selling uranium to India as it was a non-signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

The Labour party's annual conference is scheduled for December and this issue will occupy some space, and also generate heat, with the ALP's influential left wing opposed to the move.

It now transpires that Gillard wrote a letter to PM Singh and that she also called him on 16 November for a further discussion on the subject.

The uranium issue has been a thorn in bilateral relations with Australia and speculation was rife that the India PM had skipped the earlier CHOGM summit because of this issue.

For Gillard, continued ALP intransigence on the issue is of no consequence for, as she wrote in her op-ed piece, with the  ''…change in diplomatic circumstances around the world, for us to refuse to budge is all pain with no gain and I believe that our national platform should recognize that reality."

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Australian PM Julia Gillard assures Delhi on uranium ban lift