The Australian PM Abbott has a planned visit to India next month. This visit is not like similar visits though. This one has a very important agenda point on it.
After months of debate, the Australian PM is expected to sign a deal to export Uranium to India.
Australia recently has confirmed uranium resources that total one third of the world’s recoverable low-cost uranium. It currently sells this nuclear fuel to China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States, Canada and the European Union.
The next in the list of clients is going to be India.
For Australia of course this is great news as now they will have another buyer for their vast supply of uranium, but what is disturbing is that this agreement is taking place even though India is not a signatory to the NPT, or the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
There was considerable opposition to this deal in the Australian Parliament as India was not a signatory to the NPT, but Julian Gillard, the former Australian Prime Minister, secured a majority support at the Labor’s national conference which overturned the ban in 2011.
On top of this Abbott, a pro-Indian, won the last Australian election and the deal became a certainty.
Regional Arms Race
An Australian senator, Scott Ludlam, has correctly summed up the serious problems that have the potential to arise as a result of this kind of deal.
In a statement issued recently, the Greens senator said that India’s nuclear industry had been ‘plagued with accidents and near-misses at reactor sites’. He further added, ‘Australia will be directly complicit in fuelling the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan if reports are confirmed that a uranium deal with India is on the cards.’
Although this is going to be a civil nuclear deal, it has been speculated that the nature of the deal is irrelevant and will still trigger an arms race between Pakistan and India.
The Indian Ambition
There is more to this deal than meets the eye.
The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) in its recent report has provided clear evidence that India is covertly building a large industrial scale uranium enrichment plant, with foreign help.
This plant is huge and will need huge amounts of uranium for enrichment. This uranium can then be used for powering future Indian ballistic missiles, a nuclear submarine fleet, and for producing thermonuclear bombs.
In the report, a US nuclear expert David Albright is quoted to have said that the plant is being built with illegal means, referring to the nuclear black market.
Bypassing the NPT and the above citation are clear indications of India’s intentions. However, these things usually do not matter if there is a lot of money involved.
This is clear from Mr. Abbott’s speech a few years ago to the Australia India Business Council in Sydney. Abbott said that when he is Prime Minister, India will be treated as one of the key countries helping to shape Australia’s future. The following is his bold statement:
‘It’s important to note that China is not the only emerging superpower of Asia,” Abbott said, pointing to the quadrupling of India’s GDP in two decades and high economic growth rates. “What’s more, India is the emerging democratic superpower of Asia, and also the emerging English-speaking super power. As far as I am concerned, this means it should never be the emerging superpower that’s taken for granted or neglected.’
Abbott said India fell into all three categories of countries that were particularly important to Australia: ‘Our neighbors, our major trading partners and our key strategic allies.’
It is amusing when one assesses the extreme reaction of the international community to non-proliferation when it comes to Iran, Pakistan and North Korea and then compares it to their apathy when it comes to India or Israel.
Nuclear trade with India was initiated by the US and the rest just fell in line.
This deal will definitely have immense repercussions on the region and will definitely worsen Pakistan’s security situation and will further aggravate the India-Pakistan nuclear rivalry.
Show your Opposition to this Deal!
We encourage all concerned Pakistanis to take a few minutes of their precious time and voice their opposition to this dangerous effort!
Sign the following petition to Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop: