Australia and India to begin civil nuclear cooperation talks

21 January 2013 (Last Updated January 21st, 2013 18:30)

Australia is set to start civil nuclear cooperation talks with India for exporting uranium fuel to the nation.

India_Australia nuclear talk

Australia is set to start civil nuclear cooperation talks with India for exporting uranium fuel to the nation.

India's External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said in a release that the two nations would hold the first round of talks in New Delhi, India.

"We shall be commencing negotiations on a civil nuclear energy cooperation agreement in March 2013," Khurshid said.

"Our relations are based on shared interests and mutual benefit in political and security areas, our expanding economic and trade ties, our cooperation in the energy and resources sectors, collaboration in science and technology and research, and our growing people-to-people links."

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, along with Khurshid, recently held the 8th round of the framework dialogue in New Delhi, which they say is an integral component of the partnership between the two countries.

"We shall be commencing negotiations on a civil nuclear energy cooperation agreement in March 2013."

"India is a key part of Australia's future," Carr remarked.

The two countries have said that the formal negotiations are expected to last up to two years.

In October 2012, Australia signed an agreement to open negotiations to export uranium fuel to India, in a move to improve its ties with one of the largest Asian economies.

India has sought to develop close ties with a host of nations with deposits of uranium, including Canada, Mongolia, and Tajikistan.

India currently produces less than 3% of its energy from its existing nuclear power plants and intends to raise the figure to 25% by 2050.

Australia is said to be the world's third largest uranium producer with an estimated 23% reserves.


Image: Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid with his Australian counterpart senator Bob Carr in New Delhi. Photo: courtesy of Indian Ministry of External Affairs.