Sydney: With Australian Labour Party (ALP) notables slowly turning against their party's long standing ideological stand of not exporting uranium ore to nations that are non-signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), perhaps it was only a matter of time before the party leader openly signalled a change of stance on the issue. Be that as it may, Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, has now stated clearly what party leaders, Australian business interests and national security experts have been arguing for long – that a ban on sales of uranium to India needs to be overturned.
The issue has for long been an irritant in bilateral relations between two influential Asiatic-Pacific powers and will help open up new markets for Australian suppliers.
Gillard's ruling Labour party is slated to debate lifting the ban on exports to India at its annual party conference next month.
"It is time for Labour to modernise our platform and enable us to strengthen our connection with dynamic, democratic India," Gillard said in a column in The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
India has long pointed to its impeccable record in nuclear proliferation and has sought access to nuclear supplies for electricity generation necessary to power its growing economy.
India has refused to sign the NPT, arguing it is discriminatory. Pakistan, Israel and North Korea are the only other non-signatories to the treaty.