Uranium sales to India won't start quickly: Gillard



Sydney: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who is on a three-day trip to India, has said that uranium sales to India will not start quickly and a safeguard agreement may take one or two years, it was reported here.

Gillard hosed down any suggestions that uranium sales to India will start quickly, saying that negotiating a safeguard agreement is likely to take one or two years, rather than months, reported Sydney Morning Herald from New Delhi.

She is in the Indian capital to clear the way for negotiations to begin on a safeguards agreement.

She said Australia knew how to negotiate a proper agreement to ensure uranium was used for peaceful purposes, the media report quoted the Australian prime minister as saying.

The launch of nuclear negotiations will pave the way for the sealing of a civilian nuclear deal, and will remove the last stumbling block in accelerating bilateral ties.

Gillard said that action had been taken to ensure the welfare of Indian students and the ban on uranium exports to India had been lifted.

She had visited India as deputy prime minister and education minister to deal with the tensions over violence towards Indian students in Melbourne some years ago.

Australia is home to 450,000 Indians. The attacks on Indian students in Australia a couple of years ago have not dimmed the appeal of that country as an education destination with the Australian government launching a multi-pronged plan to prevent such attacks. Currently, there are about 36,000 Indian students who are studying in Australia.

During her three-day trip that began Monday, Gillard will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during which the prospects of civil nuclear cooperation and intensification of relations in areas like trade and investment, science and technology and education will figure in the discussions.

IANS

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