India, Namibia agree to solve Uranium supply dispute

RSTV Bureau
President Pranab Mukherjee along with the  President of the Republic of Namibia, Hage Geingob during a delegation level talks at State House in Republic of Namibia. Photo-PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee along with the President of the Republic of Namibia, Hage Geingob during a delegation level talks at State House in Republic of Namibia.
Photo-PTI

During the presidential level talks held between President Pranab Mukherjee and his Namibian counterpart, President Hage G Geingob, India and Namibia have decided to iron out issues which are impeding supply of uranium.

Earlier, Mukherjee was given an elaborate reception here at the State House, President’s office, with Indian flags and photographs of Mukherjee adorning the sides of the roads. He was also given a guard of honour and a tribal dance presentation.

During his presidential level both leaders discussed issues relating to nuclear co-operation, trade and technology sharing. President Mukherjee conveyed to the Namibian President that India has entered in nuclear fuel supply arrangements with 12 countries despite being a non-NPT signatory.

“Namibian expressed their intention to study arrangements. It as a “positive move” that Namibia is ready to engage with India on the issue. India had signed a treaty with Namibia in 2009 for the peaceful nuclear energy use but it is yet to be implemented,” said Secretary Economic Relations Amar Sinha.

An Indian will soon visit Namibia to explain the technical and economical details of the arrangements with other countries and how an agreement can be reached between the two sides regarding the supply of nuclear fuel for peaceful uses. One of the suggestions given by the Namibian side was to let an Indian company mine the fuel but it is yet to be evaluated.

“We will have to see if in this arrangement, Indian company will be allowed to access the excavated uranium. It is too early,” an official said.

Namibia despite being one of the largest producer of uranium and having a treaty with India for peaceful use of nuclear use does not supply the fuel to India because of Palindaba treaty among African Union countries which bars exports of the element to non-NPT signatories.

“Regarding uranium, there is a proposal which has been pending at their end basically because of African Union decisions. Whether we can move them along, in terms of becoming a supplier of uranium for us that is one of the key objectives that we have there,” Sinha had said in Delhi.

Namibia strongly endorsed the candidature of India for the UN Security Council membership, saying the reforms in the UN are pending for 20 years and should now be brought in as early as possible.

“It is also important for our two countries to maintain regular consultations on vital issues such as the need for the reform of the United Nations Security Council and other multinational institutions, international terrorism, sustainable development and climate change,” President Geingob said.

Mukherjee said it is an irony that a country which represents one sixth of Indian population and Africa which comprises 54 countries do not find representation in UN Security Council.

The support of Namibia is crucial as it is a member of C-10 which gives position of Africa on UN reforms. Mukherjee also raised the issue of cross-border terrorism which is affecting India for over three decades.

The two sides also signed memorandum of understanding on setting up of Centre for Excellence in Information Communication Technology and an agreement with IIM Ahmedabad for capacity building of Namibian bureaucrats.

India will send 1,000 tonnes of rice to drought hit Namibia and also 100 tonnes of medicines besides a USD 20,000 aid to the Indira Gandhi clinic here. India is also exploring a Preferential Trade Agreement with South African Customs Union of which Namibia is also a member.