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India-Autstralia Signs 4 Agreements including Civil Nuclear Agreement
Sep 06, 2014

The Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott paid a State Visit to India on 4-5 September. The following bilateral memoranda of understanding were signed in the presence of the two Prime Ministers: 

1. Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy 
2. MOU on cooperation in Sport 
3. Renewal of MOU on cooperation in the field of Water Resources Management 
4. MoU on Cooperation in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

Civil Nuclear Agreement: Pulling off a diplomatic victory, India signed a deal with Australia  that will entitle it to get uranium to generate nuclear power and help it meet its energy shortages. The agreement is the result of tough negotiations over a year and a half, as Australia had till now ruled out selling radioactive materials to India which is not a signatory to the Nuclear non-proliferation Treaty. This despite the fact that India had managed to sign nuclear agreements with nine countries after the landmark 123 agreements with the US and a special waiver announced by the Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG).

The Australians said they are now convinced about the guarantees and precautions offered by India that Australian uranium exports would be used only for peaceful purposes. Australia is the third largest producer of uranium. It has about 40 per cent of the world's recoverable uranium, but less than 20 per cent of it is exported. Exporting uranium to India will help Australian miners such as BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Group-controlled Energy Resources of Australia Ltd.

Besides the US, India has signed nuclear agreements with South Korea, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Namibia, Mongolia, France, Russia and now with Australia.

Nuclear energy accounts for only a small portion of India's power supply but it could help to reduce the shortfall.

Both sides also signed three agreements for cooperation in sports, vocational studies and water resources management.

The India Prime Minister thanked his Australian counterpart for handing over two antique statues of Hindu deities which were allegedly stolen from temples in Tamil Nadu and were bought by art galleries in Australia. One of them is a Nataraja (the dancing Shiva) that belonged to the Chola dynasty of the 11th-12th century.

Sport: The second MoU is on cooperation in sport, and the agreement is aimed to promote exchange of programmes, experience, skills, techniques and knowledge in the field of sports. 

It will facilitate exchanges of sports personnel, coaches and officials as well as of training and technologies. It will develop preparation for competitions and broad cooperation in sports. 

Water Resources Management: The third MoU is on cooperation in the field of water resources management and will promote sharing of policy and technical experiences in water resources, particularly river basin management. It will encourage familiarisation of best practices and technologies developed by each side and for exchange of information and training. A Joint Effective Group will coordinate the activities. 

Technical Employment Education and Training (TVET): The fourth MoU is on Cooperation in Technical Employment Education and Training (TVET), which is aimed to promote exchange of information and policy thoughts in TVET systems, joint implementation of collaborative projects and facilitating links between governments, industry organizations and TVET bodies. The focus will be to share experience and policy to build work force that is skilled and globally productive. The skills will promote broader cooperation including greater access to skilled labour across the region


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