TOKYO: The much-vaunted nuclear deal remained elusive, with the leaders of India and Japan reiterating their resolve to conclude it at the earliest, but officials said there was “significant progress” in negotiations. In a boost for India, Tokyo lauded New Delhi’s non-proliferation efforts and agreed to get the latter in as full member of top global nuclear export control regimes.
In his wide-ranging talks in Tokyo, Japan’s Prime Minister Shizo Abe assured India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Japan would work with India to help it become a full member of Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group, top multilateral regimes which control the global flow of nuclear technology and materials.
During the Tokyo summit on September 1, the Japanese leader commended India’s efforts at non-proliferation. He also lauded India’s efforts to ensure that Japanese technologies would not be used for delivery system of Weapons of Mass Destructions.
According to the joint statement released at the end of the meeting, the two countries affirmed the importance of civil nuclear cooperation and directed their officials to speed-up the negotiations with a view to concluding the agreement at an earliest date.
Given India’s impeccable non-proliferation record, Japan agreed to remove six of India’s space and defence-related entities from Japan’s Foreign End User List, a move that was welcomed by Prime Minister Modi.
“In recent months, we have made significant progress in our negotiations on civil nuclear cooperation. Today, we have discussed this issue at length. We have reached better understanding of each other’s positions through this discussion,” said Mr Modi at a joint press interaction with Mr Abe. “We have agreed to instruct our negotiators to work expeditiously to conclude the negotiations at an early date so that we can further strengthen our strategic partnership,” he said.
Why n-deal with Japan matters
The conclusion of a nuclear deal with Japan is critical to the success of India’s nuclear deals with the US and France as critical components needed in US and French reactors can only be supplied by Japanese companies.
India and Japan launched negotiation for a civil nuclear deal in 2010, but the talks lost momentum after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which revived worldwide concerns over the safety and viability of nuclear energy. The Fukushima disaster also provided additional ammunition to Japan’s already robust non-proliferation lobby and compelled Tokyo to review its options as the Asian country depended on nuclear electricity for over 60 per cent of it energy needs.
But after a lull, India and Japan revived negotiations and, according to latest indications, given Tokyo’s strategic imperative to draw New Delhi into a closer embrace, the nuclear deal could be concluded soon. Being the only country to have been attacked by nuclear weapons, there still remains powerful resistance among the political elite in Japan to doing any deal with a country, which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
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