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India, Australia sign landmark civil nuclear deal; Canberra to supply uranium


New Delhi (5th Sept, 2014): Taking their bilateral ties to new heights, India and Australia Friday inked a landmark civil nuclear deal that will pave way for Canberra to supply uranium to the energy-starved country even as the two sides decided to step up cooperation in defence, security and trade.

The nuclear pact was signed following a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott during which the two leaders deliberated on crucial bilateral, regional and international issues including the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine.

Welcoming signing of the agreement, Modi said it was a "historic milestone" in bilateral relationship.

"It is a reflection of a new level of mutual trust and confidence in our relationship and will open a new chapter in our bilateral cooperation. It will support India's efforts to fuel its growth with clean energy and minimise the carbon footprint of its growth," he said at a joint press briefing with Abbott.

Australia has about a third of the world's recoverable uranium resources and exports nearly 7,000 tonnes of it a year. India and Australia had launched talks on uranium sales in 2012 after Canberra lifted a long-time ban on exporting the valuable yellow cake to Delhi to meet its ambitious nuclear energy programme.

Aimed at promoting cooperation in the field peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the agreement recognises India's commitment to and use of nuclear energy with a view to achieving sustainable development and strengthening energy security.

"Australia can play the role of a long-term reliable supplies of uranium to India. It provides for supply of uranium, production of radio isotopes, nuclear safety and other areas of cooperation," as per the pact details.

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