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Australia and India sign nuclear pact

, September 5, 2014, 0 Comments

India Australia nuclear pact-MarketExpress-inAustralia has signed an agreement with India to supply uranium for civilian energy purposes. The heads of the two countries hailed the pact as a milestone in bilateral ties.

The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi sealed an agreement to supply uranium for civil nuclear power plants to India. Modi said the deal was a “historic milestone” in the two countries’ relationship and that it would “support India’s efforts to fuel its growth with clean energy and minimize the carbon footprint of its growth.”

India is still heavily dependent on coal and big cities often suffer power shortages. According to the World Bank, nearly 400 million Indians have no access to electricity.

In order to cope with demands of a rising population and a growing economy, the Indian government plans to increase the number of nuclear plants across the country. At present, India has 20 nuclear power plants running in six cities.

The Australian prime minister said he trusted India would not use uranium for anything other than producing energy, following concerns of nuclear proliferation: “We signed a nuclear cooperation agreement because Australia trusts India to do the right thing in this area.”

India and Australia began negotiations on uranium in 2012. Australia had previously ruled out uranium exports to India because the South Asian country was not a signatory to the global non-proliferation treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear warheads.

However, Australia changed this decision in 2008 after India was exempted by the Nuclear Suppliers Group which governs nuclear trade. India has signed civil nuclear agreements with US, France, Russia and South Korea.

India has tested nuclear weapons twice, in 1974 and 1998.