By Arvind Padmanabhan
Pretoria, (IANS) India hopes it can import uranium from South Africa by impressing upon Pretoria to favourably change its regime towards New Delhi, notwithstanding the implications of what is called the Treaty of Pelindaba.
Speaking to journalists on the margins of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Summit, India’s envoy here Virendra Gupta said while South Africa has uranium deposits, India has now started talks on importing the fuel.
“It appears to us that there will need to be an exception,” Gupta said, referring to the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty that prohibits signatories from entering into nuclear commerce with any nation that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“But it will not be difficult. We have civil nuclear agreements with several countries. I don’t see any reason why we can’t do it here,” Gupta said referring to such bilateral pacts with about a dozen regimes.
He was speaking soon after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh concluded his engagements with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and South African President Jacob Zuma both at the summit level and his subsequent bilateral meetings.
Significantly, the joint declaration signed by the three leaders appeared to acknowledge India as a responsible state on nuclear matters, despite its reluctance to officially join the non-proliferation regime.
“The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the goal of the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons within a specified timeframe, in a comprehensive, universal, non-discriminatory, verifiable and irreversible manner,” the declaration said.
“Brazil and South Africa welcomed India’s engagement with, and interest in, participation in the relevant international multilateral export control regimes and utilization of their guidelines.”