India Thanks Australian PM on Uranium Supply Issue

New Delhi
India Thanks Australian PM on Uranium Supply Issue
India today thanked Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard for taking a "political risk" by deciding to positively reverse a long-term policy of not supplying uranium to it.

This was conveyed by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who called on her and discussed other key bilateral and international issues, including situation in Afghanistan.

"Krishna thanked her for positively reversing the uranium supply policy to India, a non-NPT member, and a risk she has taken politically while doing so," official sources said.

The External Affairs Minister also put forth the importance of nuclear power for energy-deficient India, they said.

The two leaders also talked about the various steps taken by Australia to ensure safety and security of Indian students.

Krishna and Gillard, who arrived here on Monday from Afghanistan, also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and post-2014 scenario after the withdrawal of the Western combat forces. Australia has largest non-NATO troop presence.

Later, Gillard called on President Pranab Mukherjee and held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral and multilateral issues.

The discussions covered issues relating to trade and investment, energy, supply of resources for India's economic development, education, and people-to-people contacts, a release from Rashtrapati Bhawan said, adding the two leaders also discussed cooperation in multilateral forums such as G-20 whose summit Australia will host in 2014.

The President said India was committed to strengthen its strategic partnership with Australia and expressed appreciation for Australia's support for India's candidature in an expanded UN Security Council.

He also said the two countries should work together in reforming the international financial architecture and equipping institutions like the World Bank with the resources they need.

She gifted Rashtrapati Bhavan two saplings of Wollemi Pine -- one of the oldest known tree species dating back to the time of the dinosaurs.

Gillard informed the President about the plants and hoped they will flourish in the Rashtrapati Bhavan complex.

The tree was discovered in Australia in 1994 and with less than 100 fully-grown trees known to exist in the wild, Wollemi Pine is now the focus of extensive research to safeguard its survival.
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