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Foreign Minister in denial on India’s nuclear record

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 22 Jan 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr's defence of India's non-proliferation record defies belief as well as history the Australian Greens said today.

"It is ridiculous for Bob Carr to defend India's non-proliferation record when India produced plutonium for weapons in 1974 from a Canadian-supplied reactor it pledged to use only for ‘peaceful purposes', said Greens spokesperson for nuclear policy Senator Scott Ludlam.

"The Foreign Minister has forgotten that Australia played a leading in role in establishing the Nuclear Supplies Group in direct response to this duplicity.

"The Foreign Minister has also forgotten that K. Subrahmanyam, former head of the national security advisory board in India, said in 2005: ‘Given India's uranium ore crunch and the need to build up our ... nuclear deterrent arsenal as fast as possible, it is to India's advantage to categorise as many power reactors as possible as civilian ones to be refuelled by imported uranium and conserve our native uranium fuel for weapons-grade plutonium production'. Clearly, Australian uranium would boost India's nuclear weapons capacity.

"Rather than a fine non-proliferation record, India has a history of illicit nuclear procurement, has inadequate nuclear export controls, does not allow IAEA inspections of all of its nuclear plants, refuses to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, continues to expand its nuclear arsenal and missile capabilities, and actively contributes to the sub-continent being host to the most precarious nuclear stand-off in the world.

"India is also dangerous for peaceful anti-nuclear protesters, five of whom have been murdered since 2010 in the struggles against the nuclear industry in Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu), Jaitapur (Maharashtra) and Gorakhpur (Haryana).

"By pouring uranium into this country, Australia would fuel regional nuclear dangers and encourage an industry that India's own Auditor General has strongly condemned, given there is no national policy on nuclear and radiation safety and that supervision of licensing, registration of nuclear radiating machines and sites, inspections, monitoring, policy development and safety standards, emergency response and verification of the disposal of nuclear waste are all sub-standard.

"Australia selling uranium to India is also a violation of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference commitment to require full-scope safeguards as a condition of supply, and of our obligations under Article IV of the Treaty of Rarotonga which obliges signatories to not supply equipment or material to countries no under full scope safeguards. India is not under full scope safeguards.

"Given these facts on the ground, any uranium deal Australia does with India would be a reckless denial of safety, security and regulatory problems. The Foreign Minister is in denial if he thinks all is well in India, or that the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties will simply rubber stamp an agreement that overturns long-held Australian nuclear policy."


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