Hope to Sell Uranium to India: Aus PM Abbott

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To strengthen strategic ties and two-way trade and commerce between Australia and India, Prime Minister Tony Abbott arrived in Mumbai on a two-day visit. A nuclear agreement is likely to be signed between both countries, which will enable Australia to sell uranium to India.

PM Abbott is slated to interact with business leaders and select Indian CEOs during his day long visit in the financial capital of India.

He will also attend the launch of the Australian Government's New Colombo Plan in India and be present for felicitation of young cricketers by Australian cricket greats Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee at Cricket Club of India. India's cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar will also attend the ceremony.

Abbott is likely to ink a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of sports, but details have not been revealed yet.

He will also lay a wreath at the memorial for the victims of 26/11 attacks at Hotel Taj Mahal Palace, one of the scenes of the ghastly terror attack in 2008.

A big-ticket item on Abbott's agenda as he leaves for the national capital in the evening, however, would be a civil nuclear deal with India. The efforts have been underway since 2012 after Labor Party reversed the decision to ban the sale of uranium to India because of New Delhi not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"I am hoping to sign a nuclear co-operation agreement that will enable uranium sales by Australia to India," he told parliament on the eve of his visit to India.

Abbott had said that if Australia was prepared to sell uranium to Russia then ‘surely we ought to be prepared to provide uranium to India under suitable safeguards’, noting it was a ‘fully functioning democracy with the rule of law’.

India is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but Abbott has stressed that Australia will ensure adequate bilateral safeguards before any deal is signed.

After failure to conclude a civil nuclear deal with Japan during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to that country, if inked, the pact with Australia, which has about a third of the world's recoverable uranium resources and exports nearly 7,000 tonnes a year, would boost India's energy sector.

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