Australia confident N-deal talks with India will not 'drag on'
Australia on Monday expressed confidence that negotiations on the civil nuclear deal with India will not "drag on" as political clearance has already been given and only technical issues are required to be resolved.
New Delhi: Australia on Monday expressed confidence that negotiations on the civil nuclear deal with India will not "drag on" as political clearance has already been given and only technical issues are required to be resolved.
"I just don't know because the issues are technical, the political issues have been resolved and that's broadly been approved," Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb told reporters here when asked about a timeline for conclusion of talks on the nuclear cooperation agreement.
He noted that when Prime Minister Tony Abbott came here in November last, the "green light" was given to the deal.
"The government has approved the programme but it is subject to the instruments of administering this. There has got to be an agreement between the two countries. I don't know the timing. But it is not something that's going to drag on," the Australian Minister added.
The deal will be beneficial for India as Australia is known to have 40 per cent of the world's uranium reserves and this country is facing dearth of the fuel for nuclear plants.
Giving some details, Robb said the negotiations relate partly to the aspect about provision of information each year to "all relevant other parties and international authority" to demonstrate that none of the uranium imported from Australia is being used for any purpose other than peaceful power generation.
"...We just haven't reached agreement yet on the set of procedures. I think that's the essence of it, how much oversight will be given by the international authority within power stations, within uranium plants across India," he added.
Robb, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his current visit, said they did not have a discussion on the nuclear deal "because the issues to be resolved are technical, not political".
The two countries had commenced negotiations for the nuclear deal in early 2012.