India hopes for win-win nuclear accord with Japan

August 20th, 2010 - 6:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) Downplaying recent adverse remarks by Japanese officials about civil nuclear cooperation with India, India Friday said it would shortly hold another round of negotiations with Japan here and underlined that it was hopeful of “a win-win” atomic accord soon.
“Both countries have been working towards a good agreement which will be a win-win situation for both India and Japan,” Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary in charge of East Asia in the external affairs ministry, told reporters here.

“We are hoping that the Japanese negotiators will come to New Delhi,” he said, a day before Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada comes here Saturday for talks that will also include the prospects of civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries.

“It’s for the Japanese side to handle these viewpoints and decide on nuclear pact with India. The Japanese government has taken a decision after considering all viewpoints,” said Bambawale.

“We share a common goal of creating a world free of weapons of mass destruction,” said Vishnu Prakash, spokesperson of the external affairs ministry.

There is a robust anti-nuclear domestic constituency in Japan that has been critical of starting nuclear negotiations with India, a country that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The mayor of Nagasaki, one of the two Japanese cities scorched by atom bombs to extract Japan’s surrender during World War II, made a declaration Aug 9 that calls for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in the world.

Ahead of his visit to India, Okada said he was to “candidly convey to India critical public opinions in Japan” and urge New Delhi to make efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

India and Japan launched the first round of nuclear negotiations June 28-29 after a nod from Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Tokyo had supported New Delhi’s bid to resume global nuclear commerce in the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group in September 2008.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will hold delegation-level talks Saturday with Okada on a wide range of bilateral issues, including intensification of economic ties, the UN reforms and civil nuclear cooperation.

Okada will also call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The two sides will review progress negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). “Another round of talks will take place in September on this issue,” said Bambawale.

The talks between Krishna and Okada will also prepare the agenda for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Tokyo, likely towards October-end.

India is confident of further progress in civil nuclear negotiations by the time Manmohan Singh visits Tokyo, said sources.

Nudged by the US and France to fast-track the nuclear pact with India so that General Electric Co and France’s Areva can use Japanese suppliers for nuclear power projects for India, Japan has decided to accelerate the negotiations.

Japanese companies like Hitachi and Toshiba are eying a share of India’s growing nuclear pie, estimated to be worth $150 billion.

Issues related to the UN reforms will also figure in discussions, said sources. India and Japan, along with Brazil and Germany, make the G4 grouping seeking permanent seats in a reformed UN Security Council.

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