Australian PM Tony Abbot Visits India With A Uranium Deal In Hand

By @diplomatist10 on
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers his keynote speech during the B20 Summit in Sydney, July 17, 2014. Reuters

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott arrived in India on Thursday, for a two-day visit with a deal for uranium exports to India. Arriving in Mumbai, India's financial capital, the Australian Prime Minister described India as the emerging democratic superpower and said Australia was keen to explore the abundant opportunities in India.

Hotel Taj Palace in Mumbai was his first port of call. A 30-member business delegation is also accompanying the PM. In his address to an Indian business gathering, the Australian Prime Minister recalled how India has changed enormously since his last visit to the country, 33 years ago, as a backpacker, reported Times of India.  

Abbot heaped encomiums on India by calling it a country which has amazed the world over the last few decades with its growth and development. It is the world's second most populous country. On the basis of purchasing power, India is world's third largest economy. India is the emerging democratic superpower of the world with which Australia has warm ties.

To Meet Modi

Abbott will meet India's newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Friday. Abbot is hoping to sign an agreement for Australian uranium exports to India. For many countries, selling Uranium to India was a problem, as it was not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

India and Australia initiated talks on a nuclear deal in 2012 after the previous Labour government scrapped the ban on uranium supply to India.

Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb also said Australia was satisfied with the safeguards in India to ensure that the uranium will be used for civilian purposes only.

Robb said the negotiations between authorities in India and Australia have shaped a bilateral nuclear co-operation agreement that meets international requirements.

With a 40 per cent share in uranium deposits Australia is the leading supplier to many countries including China, Japan, and the U.S.

Welcoming Abbott's visit, Sanjay Bhattacharya, senior official in the Indian foreign ministry said, India expected significant outcomes from the Australian PM's visit.

As a major supplier of resources, particularly energy Australia can contribute to India's development needs, the foreign ministry official noted. India has been able to attract many new partners in civil nuclear energy after the Indo-US civilian nuclear co-operation deal in 2008.

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