Japan PM hints at revival of n-deal talks (Lead) (With images)December 28th, 2011 - 7:30 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS) Nine months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda Wednesday indicated the revival of civil nuclear talks with India and hoped “mutually acceptable results” will be achieved. He, however, urged New Delhi to understand Japan’s position on disarmament and maintain its moratorium on testing.
“I am paying close attention to the progress of the agreement on peaceful uses of nuclear energy. At the working level, discussions have proceeded. I welcome this progress,” Noda said after delivering a lecture on his vision of India-Japan relations in the 21st century.
“I very much hope that mutually acceptable results will be achieved,” Noda, who is on his maiden visit to India, replied when asked about the status of civil nuclear negotiations with India.
The lecture was organised by the Indian Council for World Affairs.
India and Japan have already held three round of civil nuclear negotiations, but the talks stalled after the March 11 Fukushima radiation disaster, fuelling security concerns in that country.
“Japan was the only country exposed to nuclear attack. Disarmament and non-proliferation is the tenet of the country. This is a matter of national sentiment,” Noda said.
He was referring to strong anti-nuclear sentiments in Japan, a pacifist country known for its stringent non-proliferation norms, which intensified after the Fukushima disaster.
Indicating that any nuclear deal with India will have to take into account non-proliferation obligations that are required of Japan’s nuclear partners, Noda stressed that he hoped that India will maintain its moratorium on nuclear testing.
However, unlike his predecessors Noda did not make the signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) by India as a pre-requisite for a nuclear deal with India. The nuclear deal with Japan will enable India to implement its atomic deal with the US as top American atomic equipment companies are partially owned by Japanese companies.
The prospects of reviving civil nuclear cooperation figured prominently in talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Noda in the evening, official sources said. India is hoping that the revival of nuclear negotiations will be announced after the talks between the two leaders.
India and Japan are also expected to seal a currency swap pact, estimated to be around $10 billion, that could help stem the slide in the value of the Indian rupee. Japan is also set to announce a $4.5-billion grant for the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project.
Noda called for the intensification of popular contacts through increased travel and tourism and an escalation of trade and investment. He also pitched for greater cooperation on a cluster of global issues ranging from countering terrorism and piracy to the UN reforms and creating an inclusive East Asian architecture.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who was present at the function, described the India-Japan bilateral relationship as “a splendid example of a successful and effective foreign policy working for the benefit of the people of the two countries”.
Lauding the Japanese people and leadership for their resilience in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, Krishna stressed that Japan’s support has helped “to make a difference to the lives of many people in India”.
“The Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project and the Delhi and Bangalore Metros are outstanding projects, which touch the lives of people and bring home the fruits of a responsive foreign policy,” said Krishna.
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