On a visit in New Delhi, Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith has again repeated his support for uranium sales to India, but said that the circumstances were unique and would not open the door to Pakistan.
The Kalpakkam Atomic Center in southern India
After the ruling Labor Party voted last weekend to overturn Australia's longstanding ban on uranium sales to India, Pakistan's High Commissioner to the country, Abdul Malik Abdullah, went on record saying that if Canberra was willing to lift the ban on India, which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), then it should also sell consider selling uranium to Islamabad.
The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is a joint project between India and Russia
But Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith said in New Delhi on Thursday that India represented a "unique" case for uranium sales. He said that India had brought itself under the governance of the international nuclear regulators, which has was not the case for Pakistan.
According to a report in the daily The Australian, Smith has used his powers under the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act to block exports to Pakistan three times in the past two years.
India has come to the attention of the Act only once - in 2005 in connection with the planned export of scientific equipment.
Pakistan tested its Shaheen-II, or Hatf VI, missile in 2008
No rose-colored glasses
"There has never been a suggestion of (nuclear) proliferation from India," Smith pointed out but added that "regrettably there have been serious concerns about proliferation from Pakistan in the past."
"Pakistan does not have the same record so far as proliferation is concerned," he stated clearly but he also expressed the hope that Islamabad would understand the decision and that it would not affect military ties between the two sides, "especially in their cooperation in the war in Afghanistan."
"We don't have rose-colored glasses about the complexity or the difficulties of Pakistan," he added, following up on Prime Minister Julia Gillard's recent request of Pakistan to do more to combat terrorism and extremism.
Author: Arun Chowdhury (AFP, dpa, PTI)
Editor: Anne Thomas