Labor to scrap Uranium deal with India: Kevin Rudd

By Neeraj Nanda

Melbourne: Australia’s decision to export Uranium to India with conditions seems to have run into rough weather. The leader of opposition and Australian Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd, projected to be the next Prime Minister has said that he will scrap the deal if Labor comes to power in the coming Federal elections.

The news comes amidst the controversy over the Indo-US nuclear deal in India, which prompted the Australian government to say yes to Uranium exports to India. Both the Left (CPI-M, CPI and others) who have 59 seats in the Lok Sabha and support the Congress led UPA government in New Delhi from outside, the right wing Hindu nationalist BJP and the centrist UNPA are opposing the the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The main objection of Australian Labor party, Greens, Democrats and anti-nuclear groups against Uranium exports to India are that India has not signed the NPT and the move will trigger a nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan.

Prime Minister John Howard finalised the deal with his Indian counterpart over the phone on August 16 night.

Mr Howard says the deal to sell uranium to India will be of major economic and strategic advantage to both countries.

Mr Rudd told ABC TV’s Late line program:

“Mr Howard needs to get that right because fundamental national security interests for us and the next generation of Australians is at stake here,” he said.

“We respect the nuclear no-proliferation treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency because we’ve got to prevent nuclear weapons proliferations in our region, our neighborhood, our own backyard.

“No one in Australia wants a nuclear arms industry aided by US, in the Indian sub-continent or between India and China, because we have failed to ensure the upholding of the NPT.”

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