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India and Australia to begin nuclear talks
January 22, 2013, 1:01 pm


Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid (r) and Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr in Delhi, 21 January 2012. [AP]

India and Australia will begin talks for a civil nuclear energy cooperation in March this year.

“We shall be commencing negotiations on a Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation Agreement in March 2013,” Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said in New Delhi on Monday

Khurshid was hosting Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr.

The first round of negotiations conducted by the Foreign Ministries of both countries will be held in Delhi.

The agreement would enable the export of uranium from Australia to India, Carr said.

“A sense of urgency and purpose will be there. We will move swiftly,” Khurshid said pointing out that India already had similar agreements with a number of countries which could be used as a model.

India also announced that Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony would visit Australia sometime in March for further discussions on cooperation in defence and security sectors.

This would be the first ever visit by an Indian Defence Minister to Australia.

Australia had agreed to start negotiations on a civil nuclear deal with India during the October visit of Prime Minister Julia Gillard to New Delhi.

In December 2011, Julia Gillard’s Labour Party had overturned its long-standing ban on exporting uranium to India.

Australia have placed great premium on closer ties with Asia over the last few years.

The Australian Prime Minister said earlier, “Whatever else this century brings, it will bring Asia’s rise. The transformation of the Asian region into the economic powerhouse of the world is not only unstoppable, it is gathering pace.”

With Inputs from Agencies