Australia, India negotiating uranium deal: Bishop

12 May 2015

Source: Business Standard

Australia is prepared to supply uranium to India under very strict control and safeguards to power its economy and the two countries are negotiating a deal to make it happen, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said.

"In the case of India, it is pursuing a civilian nuclear power programme. We are all aware of the vast areas of India that are yet to be electrified. As a country we want India to succeed economically," Bishop said yesterday during her two-day visit to Pakistan.

She said Australia has significant reserves of coal, uranium and gas and wants to export this energy capacity to the world.

"We want it (India) to be a stable, prosperous country, as of course we want for Pakistan," she said at a joint press conference with Sartaj Aziz, National security and Foreign Affairs advisor to Pakistani Prime Minister.

Australia's uranium reserves are the world's largest, with 23 per cent of the total.

"So Australia is prepared to sell uranium to India but under very strict control and safeguards. The negotiations are going on for present, and that will be going on for some time, and if our requirements are met...," she said.

"We have legal requirements as well as standards and protocols that we need to meet. And there are international safeguards as well. If those safeguards could be met then Australia will supply uranium. But the agreement is still being negotiated, so no uranium has been supplied," Bishop said.

She said Australia is committed to the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions and support countries provide energy to some of their less or least developed areas in the form of electricity.

"We, of course, will supply energy to countries that meet our requirement," the minister said.

When asked if there were talks specifically on uranium sales to Pakistan, Bishop said she had been taking into account the energy needs of Pakistan and "Of course Australia stands ready to enhance bilateral trade across the commodities where Australia has much to offer".