Australia will not sell uranium to India until it signs
the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), federal
resources minister Ian Macfarlane said.
answer is no,'''' Macfarlane told The Age newspaper, adding,
''''the Australian uranium industry can prosper without
India, that''s my answer. ''''We have a prohibition on
the basis they have not signed the NPT.''''
said companies, which he declined to name, have already
approached him to discuss commercial opportunities to
enrich uranium in Australia. He warned that Australia
could not go down the nuclear route unless there was
clear bipartisan support and the public accepted nuclear
minister''s remarks were in contrast to prime minister
John Howard''s recent statements that hinted at a shift
in Australia''s policy on uranium exports to India.
see India as a very responsible country. The relationship
between Australia and India is growing. It''s a very
important relationship. They will be considerations
that we will bear in mind,'''' he said during a visit
by India''s nuclear envoy Shyam Saran. The statement
raised prospects that Australia may open uranium sales
was rife that Australia may relax its policy of not
selling fuel for the burgeoning Indian civil nuclear
plants. The Indo-US agreement to transfer nuclear technology
was seen as a probable indicator for Australia to allow
uranium exports to India.
the statement by the Macfarlane on Tuesday seems to
have pushed the process back to square one. The Age
also pointed out the apparent contradiction with the
Australian prime minister''s earlier statement.
There has certainly been no discussion with me and I''m
the guy who
signs the export permits regarding the potential to
supply India,'''' Mcfarlane reportedly said, emphasising
that he was simply reiterating this government''s policy.