New Delhi, Oct 17: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard here today to start negotiations on the sale of uranium to India for its nuclear power programme.
Australia had earlier refused to sell nuclear material to India because it had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Gillard on Tuesday said that her government had changed its policy and was willing to start negotiations on selling uranium to India.
Gillard told reporters that negotiations on civil nuclear co-operation were likely to start between the two countries.
“We have changed our party policy so that there is now no fetter for us on selling uranium to India. We have changed our government policy. The thing that would have to happen next is the negotiation of a comprehensive civil nuclear co-operation agreement,” Gillard said.
Her policy shift came after US President Barack Obama’s visited Australia with an aim to bring the latter’s uranium policy into line with that of the U.S.
Washington in 2008 signed a landmark civil nuclear agreement with India over the use of uranium for nuclear energy.
Australia, one of the United States’ closest allies in the region, supported the US-India nuclear agreement as a member of the 46-member Nuclear Supplier’s Group, but had continued to refuse to sell uranium to India.
Australia has almost 40 percent of the world’s known uranium reserves, but supplies only 19 percent of the world market. It has no nuclear power stations. (ANI)