India, Japan to hold economic dialogue, discuss n-deal (Lead)

April 29th, 2012 - 8:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) India and Japan will hold their first economic dialogue and sixth strategic talks Monday to impart a renewed momentum to burgeoning multi-faceted ties and to resolve issues for starting civil nuclear cooperation between them.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will co-chair the two dialogues with his Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba, who began a two-day visit to New Delhi Sunday evening.

The strategic dialogue will encompass a range of bilateral and global issues, including the prospects of civil nuclear cooperation, maritime security and the evolving East Asia regional security architecture.

“In the strategic dialogue, the two sides will review all aspects of the bilateral strategic and global partnership and discuss regional and international issues of mutual interest,” said the External Affairs Ministry ahead of the talks.

During his visit to India December last year, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda allayed New Delhi’s apprehensions regarding nuclear cooperation in the wake of the Fukushima disaster and indicated that the two countries will go ahead with negotiations after taking into consideration the safety aspects.

“We shall proceed with the negotiations on the [civil nuclear] agreement after giving due consideration to nuclear safety, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation,” Noda had said at a joint press conference with Dr. Manmohan Singh after the talks. India will, however, have to address Japan’s non-proliferation concerns anew to pursue a bilateral civil nuclear deal for which three rounds of negotiations have been held.

Many senior ministers and officials from both India and Japan will participate in the ministerial-level economic dialogue, a new initiative that enjoys the backing of the prime ministers of the two countries.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano will participate in the economic dialogue.

The two sides will also hold a separate energy dialogue, to be led by Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia from the Indian side, to explore ways to enhance cooperation in renewable energy and clean coal technologies.

The economic dialogue is aimed at imparting “strategic and long-term policy orientation to their bilateral economic engagement and to coordinate economic issues of cross-cutting nature, including infrastructure development and financing.”

The dialogue will focus on expanding trade and investment which got a big boost after the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement came into force Aug 1 last year. Bilateral trade is currently around $15 billion, with both sides setting a target of $25 billion by 2014.

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