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Australia, India uranium agreement will take time: Ex-diplomat

The sale of Australian uranium to India will take time as the safeguards agreement is a very complex issue, a former Australian diplomat to New Delhi has said.



Melbourne: The sale of Australian uranium to India will take time as the safeguards agreement is a very complex issue, a former Australian diplomat to New Delhi has said.

Rakesh Ahuja, however, warned that the yellow cake sale would also free up India`s domestic reserves for military purposes.

"I think it will take time, this safeguards agreement is a very complex issue, it will take time," Ahuja, who was posted as Australian Deputy High Commissioner to New Delhi from 1994 to 1999, told ABC Radio today.

He gave the example of Indo-Canadian deal, saying both the nations agreed to move forward back in 2010, and it was not until just earlier this year that they have reached what they call the appropriate arrangements agreement, which now allows Canada to sell. So it`s two and a half years negotiations took place there.

"So it`s two and a half years negotiations took place there," he said. "That has always been the case, yes, I mean we sell to China, it frees up their domestic (use) for (military purposes), yes, it`s a fact of life."

Australia, whose uranium reserves are the world`s largest, already exports it to China, Japan, Taiwan and the US.

"This issue has held to ransom Australia`s relationship and the economic interests with the world`s largest democracy for 40 years," Ahuja told SBS TV channel.

Ahuja, who now heads Axess India Consultancy Group, said the simple fact was that Australia held up to or rather over 40 per cent of low cost uranium, so if it exported it then the percentage would rise.

PTI

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