Perth: India on Monday asked Australia to show flexibility on its position that it would not export uranium to New Delhi, saying Canberra should think again as the global community is slowly coming around to “supporting India” on the supply of nuclear fuel.
Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who met Australian foreign minister Stephen Smith, asked the government to show flexibility on its policy not to supply uranium to India as it had not signed the NPT.
“The whole world is supporting India. Those countries who are lagging behind, they should think (again),” Shinde told reporters after his meeting with Smith.
Shinde is leading an Indian delegation to participate in the two-day Australia-India Energy and Minerals Forum starting on Tuesday.
The government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has repeatedly made it clear that Australia, a major producer of uranium, will not supply the yellow cake to NPT non-signatories -- India being one of them.
Noting the previous Australian government had supported export of uranium to India, officials said with general elections due in the country later this year, things might change. “So, there is no harm in reiterating our demand,” they said.
However, the Australian foreign minister skirted the issue, saying is was a “different policy approach” among friends. He said the issue was “recognised and understood by both the countries over a long period of time”.
“It is an area where there is a different policy approach between friends. That won’t get into the way of a very large potential (for cooperation) in minerals and resources,” Smith said.
Indian high commissioner Sujatha Singh said “the ball is in Australia’s court now.”
India has set a revised target of producing 62,302 MW of energy by 2011-12. At present, it produces 1.59 lakh MW of power, in which NTPC has a major share.
India is working on a clean energy portfolio, in which uranium-run plants would play vital role besides mega plans to tap wind and solar energy.
At present, Nuclear Power Corp. of India produces power using uranium available in the country.