Australia’s proposed India uranium deal given cautious green light despite ‘risks’ – by Shalailah Medhora (The Guardian – September 8, 2015)

To counteract potential risks of the deal, Australia’s treaties committee recommends nuclear-armed India agree to a number of safeguards

The government-dominated treaties committee has given a cautious green light to a proposed uranium deal with India, but only if the nuclear-armed nation agrees to a number of safeguards.

India is not a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) nor the comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT), yet the emerging world leader is in dire need of energy.

As such, the committee report notes that: “It would be fair to say that, in this debate, there are no small risks or benefits. Every issue the committee has dealt with in this inquiry bears significant potential benefits and risks.

“The question for the committee is, then, given the benefits for Australia and India from the proposed agreement, can the risks be tolerated and ameliorated,” the report asked.

To counteract the potential risks of the treaty, including the possibility for Australian uranium to be used in the formation of nuclear weapons, the committee has made six recommendations.

Among them, the recommendation that the bilateral treaty only be ratified if India manages to achieve the full separation of civil and military nuclear facilities, and that the country establishes a new, fully independent, nuclear regulatory body.

It also recommends the International Atomic Energy Agency verify that inspections of nuclear facilities live up to international standards.

India, which is nestled between nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and China, is estimated to possess up to 110 nuclear warheads.

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