Australia backs security pact with U.S., India: report | Reuters (Reuters) - Australia's government backed on Wednesday the idea of a new three-way security pact bringing fast-rising India together with Australia and the United States, and said its formation could be smoothed if Canberra agreed to sell uranium to New Delhi. Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, in an interview with the Australian Financial Review, said a new trilateral pact bringing in India was worth exploring because "from little things big things grow". "The response from the Indian government has really been quite positive," Rudd told the newspaper. Australia, a close Washington ally, is already involved in a tripartite economic and security dialogue with Japan and the United States, and has embarked on a $65 billion defence modernisation including new assault ships, submarines and warplanes. A four-way security pact proposed by the United States in 2007 which would have drawn Australia, the United States, Japan and India together disintegrated when Japan and India floated concerns that it would look like an attempt to encircle China. But a prominent Chinese military commentator, People's Liberation Army Major General Luo Yuan, said this week that U.S. President Barack Obama's recent diplomatic push into the Asia-Pacific region was clearly an attempt to fence in Beijing. "The United States is making much of its 'return to Asia', has been positioning pieces and forces on China's periphery, and the intent is very clear -- this is aimed at China, to contain China," Luo wrote on the website of the People's Daily newspaper. During Obama's visit to Australia, both allies announced plans to bolster Washington's military presence in Australia's Asia-facing north and west with more frequent rotations of U.S. warships, aircraft and thousands of marines. Both countries also agreed to explore the establishment of a new joint Australia-U.S. naval base on the Australian territory of Cocos Islands, in the Indian Ocean midway between Australia and Sri Lanka. The idea of an Australian, Indian and U.S. trilateral security dialogue -- in part to counter China's rising naval power -- has been strongly pushed by a trio of influential strategic think-tanks in all three countries, but has yet to be formally adopted by any government. But Rudd told the AFR that a looming weekend vote and expected approval by Australia's ruling Labor Party to drop a longstanding ban on uranium sales to non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty countries like India could help clear the way for formation of a new pact.