Japan wants India to sign NPT, cautious on n-issue

October 17th, 2008 - 10:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Tokyo next week, Japan, which had reluctantly backed India in the NSG, Friday underlined that it expected India to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and hoped that New Delhi would use global nuclear access to only generate electricity. “We have reservations on the nuclear issue… India appreciates our sensitivity on the matter since Japan is the only country which has suffered a nuclear holocaust,” a senior Japanese diplomat, who did not wish to be named, told select journalists here Friday.

Rejecting any possibility of nuclear energy cooperation between India and Japan at the official level, he, however, hinted that the Japanese government might not have any objection if the private sector in Japan entered into any cooperation in this area with Indian firms.

Reiterating Japan’s considered position, he said that Tokyo expected New Delhi to sign not only the NPT but also the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

However, he stressed that his country was confident that India would use the nuclear technology for only generating electricity.

Japan, which has a well-developed civil nuclear industry, backed India in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), albeit reluctantly, due to strong domestic sensitivities on the issue. Japan is the only country to have been attacked by nuclear weapons.

Manmohan Singh leaves on a two-nation tour Tuesday that will take him to Japan and China. The prime minister will be in Tokyo on a bilateral visit from Oct 21-23 where he will meet his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso before leaving for Beijing to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Oct 24-25.

“India and Japan will sign a joint statement and another pact on security issues,” the Japanese diplomat said.

The document on security issues will cover enhanced bilateral interaction between the armed forces of the two countries.

An in-principle agreement on Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is also expected to be approved during the Indian prime minister’s visit, he said.

He, however, indicated that as negotiations are still underway on tariff reductions and investment goals, the two sides may not be able to sign the Free Trade Area (FTA) pact, known in Japan as EPA, during Manmohan Singh’s visit to Tokyo.

Japan is also looking to step up its investment in infrastructure sector in India and plans to extend full support in setting up an Indian Institute of Technology in Hyderabad, he said.

The diplomat said Japan will also be undertaking the Delhi-Kolkata freight corridor project after ensuring that success of the Delhi-Mumbai freight corridor project.

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