The first ever shipment of uranium from Australia — having world’s biggest reserves of yellow cake — is on its way to India elevating strategic partnership to a new level, informed visiting foreign minister Julie Bishop.
She also suggested that China, pursuing an aggressive foreign policy, must adhere to international norms amid Sino-Indian border standoff.
“The first shipment of uranium under the commercial arrangement is on its own way to India. The parliamentary clearance for uranium supplies was approved in Australia.India and Australia have also agreed on nuclear safeguards agreement,” the Minister told a select group of reporters here on Tuesday after her meeting with the PM, Foreign Minister and Defence & Finance Minister.
India and Australia signed a civil nuclear pact in 2014 and Canberra has been a supporter of India’s entry into the NSG besides other export control regimes. Besides expansion of defence and security partnership, the ongoing standoff in Dokalam figured high on the agenda of Bishop’s meetings with PM and the two key Ministers.
“This is long term dispute. While maritime border disputes should be settled based on UNCLOS, land boundary disputes should be settled peacefully. We don’t want to see an escalation. Any miscalculation could lead to tensions,” Bishop remarked.
The visiting Minister was of opinion that China has an increasingly assertive foreign policy and it should adhere to international norms and order.
“India and Australia have a growing strategic and economic partnership to provide stability in the Indo-Pacific region. We hope to expand defence partnership besides working on counter-terror and countering violent extremism.”
When asked about India’s reluctance to include Australia in the Malabar Naval exercise, the Minister avoided a direct reply and said, “The matter is not upsetting.
Each country has different priorities. India and Australia have had bilateral Naval exercises. And Australia have series of bilateral military exercises and remain keen for more such exercise.”‘
“There are all indications from the top leadership of US that it is continuing with its pivot to Asia-Pacific. Besides President Donald Trump will attend East Asia Summit,” the Australian Foreign Minister pointed out.