A nuclear cooperation agreement, which will enable Australia to sell uranium to India for nuclear power generation, is expected to be signed during Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to New Delhi on 4 September 2014. Neelam Deo, director at Gateway House, comments on the India-Australia bilateral and the signing of the agreement.
“The pending nuclear cooperation agreement, which will establish Australia as a supplier of uranium to India, is expected to reach fruition during Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to New Delhi on 4 September 2014.
The agreement has gone through a series of delays due to differences among Australian political parties regarding the sale of uranium to India. As India is not a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the two countries have been negotiating safeguards since 2012 to assure the use of uranium exports for peaceful purposes only. With the Liberal party in power in Australia, Prime Minister Abbott hopes to sign the agreement.
The agreement will strengthen the bilateral and expand strategic cooperation between the two countries. India is Australia’s fifth largest export market, with total exports of $11.4 billion. There is a thriving Indian community of near 295,000 in Australia. Australia’s support will also facilitate India’s entry into the four non-proliferation regimes – Australia Group, Wassenaar Agreement, Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime.
Defence cooperation between the two countries is an important dimension of the bilateral and should be a part of the dialogue between the two countries. India and Australia are the leading maritime powers among the Indian Ocean states – the security relationship between the two countries in the Indian Ocean region is emerging as a topic of great interest and significance. India and Australia engage in maritime exercises together, which have expanded to include the United States and could further incorporate maritime neighbours like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.”
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