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Canada and India agree on nuclear cooperation deal November 20, 2012

Posted by nishankmotwani in : Future Directions International, Guest authors, India , comments closed

Liam McHugh

Ottawa and New Delhi have completed negotiations, commenced in 2010, to ratify a nuclear agreement. This may ultimately result in Canadian firms exporting uranium and nuclear infrastructure to the energy-poor South Asian state.

Background

Canada has followed Australia and concluded a civil nuclear deal with India, which has been in development since 2010. The latest uranium agreement is indicative of India’s strategic energy policy, emphasising nuclear power to moderate energy shortfalls. The challenge for New Delhi now will be to complement well-executed diplomacy, with supportive domestic legislation.

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Back to the future? Australia’s re-newed relationship with India October 26, 2012

Posted by nishankmotwani in : By contributor, India, Weigold, Auriol , comments closed

Auriol Weigold

Returning to former Australian Prime Minister John Howard’s policy on uranium exports – to sell to India despite its standing outside the NPT as it still does, emphasises the years lost in negotiating and developing the required agreements and safe-guards, a process yet to commence following Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s brief visit to India in mid-October.

BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam site which contains the largest deposit of uranium on the planet

Uranium sales to India were taken off the bilateral table when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd dropped what has been aptly described as ‘a bomb’ over uranium exports to India, setting the Australia-India relationship back – and further back, following the attacks on Indian students in Australia. (more…)

India and Australia: The end of estrangement? April 4, 2012

Posted by nishankmotwani in : India, Kumar, Vikas , comments closed

Vikas Kumar

Reprinted from Clingendael Asia Forum at the Clingendael Asia Studies, 9 December 2011. Read the full story.

On the eve of the visit of US President Barack Obama, Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard declared that Australia is willing to reconsider its ban on uranium exports to India. The ban is widely believed to be a major obstacle to a stronger India—Australia relationship, which has so far remained weak despite numerous, and shared maritime security concerns. While estrangement during the Cold War was understandable, Australia’s and India’s subsequent inability to forge a closer relationship is not. Gillard’s latest move is being seen as a game changer that will end strategic discrimination against India and signal Australia’s willingness to shed its Cold War blinkers and come to terms with the end of India’s nuclear isolation. It is unfair, however, to expect a dramatic improvement in the India-Australia relationship as a consequence of lifting the ban.

Behind Gillard’s India uranium sale decision November 19, 2011

Posted by sandygordon in : Gordon, Sandy, India , comments closed

Sandy Gordon

This article first appeared in The Australian on 18 November. The Australian is no longer available on the internet except on subscription.

Julia Gillard would have been more politically comfortable had she left the issue of uranium sales to India rusting in the ‘parking lot’. The pressing questions is therefore: why now?

There are obviously a number of factors involved, but it is clearly no accident that her announcement was made on the eve of the visit of President Obama, who came to announce a new US engagement in Asia and an enhanced role for Australia.

The new US strategic thrust is mainly about the rise of China and relative decline of the US.  With bin Laden dead and after years of US ‘boots on the ground’ in the Middle East and South West Asia, Washington has concluded that its wars are now providing security for others such as China to ‘free ride’, while America pays a price it can ill afford in blood and treasure.  All this saps America’s capacity to play in the real game, which has now shifted to Asia.

Gillard and Obama at APEC – next stop for India?

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The Indian prime minister’s empty chair October 31, 2011

Posted by southasiamasala in : India, Weigold, Auriol , comments closed

Auriol Weigold

Indian and Australian media have trawled backwards and perhaps forwards, over the message to Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, in the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s decision announced in August, that he would not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, taking place this last weekend in October.

Australian print media, notably the Financial Review on 28 October and The Weekend Australian, 29-30 October, have linked Manmohan Singh’s remarkable absence to Australia’s reversal of its agreement to sell uranium to India after Labor won the 2007 election.

Some Indian media were quick to correct that impression, pointing out that their Prime Minister has a heavy schedule of multilateral meetings in November (as has Julia Gillard) but also to indicate that Vice President Hamid Ansari who is in Perth in place of Manmohan Singh is expected to raise the issue of Australian uranium sales again.

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Reshaping India-Australia Relations July 22, 2011

Posted by southasiamasala in : India, Revo, Rohit , comments closed

Rohit Revo

Rohit Revo is the Editor of  THE INDIAN publication (www.theindian.net.au) and also hosts a blog website at www.rohitrevo.com.au

There has been speculation that the relationship between this region’s largest democracies, India and Australia has lost its political traction and that the Labor government has had a different perception of the relationship, thanks to Kevin Rudd. The post-Howard era has seen a steady decline in interest of the top leadership towards each other. The banal and text book policy approach adopted by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has caused enormous damage to this bilateral relationship, caused Australia to forgo billions of dollars in lost uranium sales and eroded a huge amount of goodwill. His one-dimensional foreign policy fixation towards China has caused more harm than good.

At this moment there is also huge inertia in the Indian foreign ministry to establish a strategic partnership with Australia as it does not want to concentrate its limited foreign policy resources on a relationship which is refusing to peak. India is instead focussing more on US, Europe and Japan. The flurry of visits of Indian ministers into Australia has largely been symbolic and has not yielded any big announcements. The nature and size of partnerships announced during these visits is miniscule as compared to the deals signed by Indian ministers when they visit even smaller European countries.

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The future of nuclear energy in India March 24, 2011

Posted by southasiamasala in : India, Kumar, Vikas , comments closed

Vikas Kumar

From mining to waste disposal, the nuclear energy industry faces hazards at every step. The recent nuclear accidents in Japan following the massive Tsunami have shaken any confidence we may have had in viewing nuclear energy as a safe alternative to hydrocarbons. These accidents raise serious questions regarding the ability of developing countries like India, which have weak regulatory bodies and dysfunctional disaster management systems, to deal with nuclear accidents. There is very little scope for public scrutiny of the nuclear energy industry in these countries due to “national security” considerations.

Let us focus on a specific problem highlighted by the Japanese accidents, namely, uncertainty associated with emergency cooling measures. A large number of nuclear power plants across the world are located near the sea to ensure adequate supply of coolant in emergencies. Tsunami is, however, just one of the numerous threats to the safe operation of coastal nuclear power plants. Rising sea levels and the increasing frequency of high intensity weather events like cyclones due to climate change means that such plants will increasingly face emergencies of the kind seen in Japan. The alternative is to locate plants inland. But climate change has also made that option unattractive in two ways. Firstly, inland water bodies are warmer than ever before. Secondly, such water bodies are prone to dry up in summers. So, switching to nuclear energy cannot be a reasonable answer to climate change. Nuclear power plants are, in fact, sitting ducks for nature’s fury. (more…)

Improving prospects of India-Australia nuclear co-operation January 5, 2010

Posted by southasiamasala in : Guest authors, India , comments closed

Guest author: Rahul Mishra

This article first appeared on the IDSA website on 24 December 2009.

Indications are that not only India will get ‘yellowcake’ from Australia, which has the world’s largest uranium resources, but it might also get a parallel position equivalent to that of a ‘Nuclear Weapon State’ so that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is reinvigorated. The report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Eliminating Nuclear Threats – A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers, released last month, offers a cue in this regard.

The Commission was set up in 2008 by the Australian and Japanese Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Yasuo Fukuda in Kyoto. Chaired by former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans and former Japanese foreign minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, the commission’s aim is to make the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference a success. The report says that the “three Elephants” outside the NPT (as India, Pakistan and Israel are called in the report) will not become party to the treaty and that “every effort should be made to achieve their participation in parallel instruments and arrangements which apply equivalent non-proliferation and disarmament obligations”.

This, indeed, is a welcome suggestion, which will not only prove valuable in saving the NPT but will also help India meet its energy requirements. Asserting the need to devise specific mechanisms to include India, Gareth Evans wrote in The Age, the leading Australian daily, that “It’s self-evidently rather quixotic for Australia to be maintaining a ban on the sale of uranium until India joins the NPT when manifestly it is not going to join the NPT and manifestly this is not going to stop it acquiring uranium from other sources.”

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A media-driven view of the Australia-India relationship November 25, 2009

Posted by southasiamasala in : India, Weigold, Auriol , comments closed

Auriol Weigold

With a bilateral relationship that is barely warm according to the Indian media, Mr Rudd’s first visit to New Delhi in mid-November advocating a stronger relationship with India was greeted by a hostile press and headlines such as The Times of India’s on 11 November: “Aussie PM to arrive on damage control”.  A comment in the same newspaper proposed that Rudd had a “formidable task” in laying the basis for a strategic relationship between the two nations.

The Sydney Morning Herald echoed this message a few days later, adding that the “stop-start” progress of the past had to be overcome.   The Rudd Government stated early in its period in government that it was committed to engagement with India, but Canberra appears to have chalked up a negative score in the Indian media since its election, and this is not a new problem.

Over time Australia has ignored India for lengthy periods and this has been reciprocated, casting a long shadow over the bilateral relationship since the early days of Indian independence. A shadow never quite dissipated, the right signals proving elusive, the right moment to engage substantially never quite there. (more…)