Malawi for joint uranium exploration with India

Last Updated: Saturday, January 9, 2010 - 17:49

Lilongwe: India and Malawi can work together to explore uranium sites as this country has huge deposits of the mineral, Vice President Joyce Banda said on Friday night.

Her statement came after the two countries inked three pacts in fields like agriculture and small enterprises during Vice President Hamid Ansari’s three-day visit here as part of his tri-nation week-long Africa tour.

“We have discovered Malawi has huge deposits of uranium. We can work with Indian government to explore other sites of uranium deposits,” Ms. Banda said replying to a query on what kind of assistance the country wants from New Delhi.

While India has proposed a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of coal resources, Malawi has suggested that the scope of the MoU should be expanded to include development of other mineral resources such as uranium, which is an important source of energy, she said.

“What is paramount for Malawi is energy security. Mining of uranium is just a component of energy. Uranium is just a part of the larger picture,” she said.

Mr. Ansari, meanwhile, left for Botswana on Saturday on the final leg of his southern Africa tour, which had also taken him to Zambia, after conclusion of his visit here.

Mr. Ansari is likely to discuss possibilities of the cooperation between India and Botswana in the field of uncut diamond procurement as Botswana possesses large deposits of the precious stone.

“Diamonds are of direct interest to us. We have a very prosperous diamond-cutting industry in Gujarat. India wants to develop cooperation in this area with Botswana,” Mr. Ansari had said earlier.

The Vice President, who is accompanied by Minister of Labour and Employment Harish Rawat among others, is scheduled to hold talks with Botswana President Lt. Gen. Sereste Khama Ian Khama and his counterpart Mompati S. Merafhe.

During his visit here, India and Malawi signed three agreements in fields of agriculture and allied sectors, small and medium enterprises and Protocol on Foreign Office Consultations.

The agreements aim to give a fillip to setting up new industries in Malawi, promoting marketing of agri products, animal husbandry and micro processing.

Ms. Banda said there are four specific areas in which Malawi is seeking India’s cooperation for energy listing coal, water and wind energy as the other components besides uranium.

Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs Vivek Katju, who later briefed reporters on the agreements and discussions between the two countries, however evaded a direct reply on the issue.

“They have energy resources and they view this (uranium) is also a part of their resources,” he said when asked about the offer of Malawi about uranium exploration.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, January 9, 2010 - 17:49

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