India to seek Japan’s support in NSG

August 2nd, 2008 - 7:09 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) With the IAEA clearing its safeguards agreement, India will seek Japan’s support in the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) when External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee holds talks with his Japanese counterpart Masahiko Koumura Monday. Koumura comes here Sunday night on a three-day visit - the first by a foreign minister from an NSG country after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approved India-specific safeguards agreement unanimously in Vienna Friday.

Mukherjee will seek Japan’s support for the India-US civil nuclear deal in the NSG, which is likely to meet Aug 21 to decide on amending its guidelines to restore global nuclear commerce with New Delhi.

“Both the leaders would also discuss the ways to further strengthen bilateral relations as well as regional and global issues,” a statement from the Japanese embassy said here Saturday.

As the action moves to the NSG, India is trying to garner support of all countries in this influential cartel that controls the global flow of nuclear technology and fuel.

The NSG operates by consensus. Japan, a key member, has been broadly supportive of India’s aspirations to enhance nuclear power production, but has maintained that it will take a stand on the India-US nuclear deal only after the IAEA clears the safeguards agreement.

Now that the IAEA has given its nod to the safeguards agreement, Japan is expected to come out in support of India in the NSG.

However, Japan may not explicitly express its support on account of its special sensitivities on nuclear issues - it is the only country in the world to have been attacked by nuclear weapons.

Japan is a leader in nuclear technology with nuclear plants contributing more than 40 percent of its power production.

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