The Australian government's decision to lift ban on sale of uranium to India is "deeply significant" and it would advance the country's interests and improve strategic ties with the "emerging super power," Australian defence minister Stephen Smith said today.
"I think this is a deeply significant decision," he told ABC TV. "This will advance Australia's interest," he added.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said it was not rational to sell uranium to powers such as China but not India, "the world's largest democracy" and the Labor party on Sunday voted to lift the long-standing ban on exporting uranium to India.
Smith, who was among those who supported Gillard's move to reverse the Labor Party's policy on the issue, said he had no reservations over selling uranium to New Delhi, although India did not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The world has come to accept India's position on Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he said, adding that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) have overlooked the NPT by agreeing to recommence nuclear trade with India.
The Indo-US civil nuclear agreement had changed the nature of the discussion about uranium exports, Smith said.