Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would depart for his three-day trip to Japan on Monday, eyeing to push forward agreement on the civil nuclear energy cooperation between the two countries and attract investments to the country. He would be accompanied by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, Principal Secretary Pulok Chatterjee and other senior officials.
During the visit, as part of the India-Japan annual summit, Singh would hold talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe to boost strategic ties between New Delhi and Tokyo. “It’s a great opportunity to bolster strategic and global partnership, and reach an agreement on the civil nuclear energy cooperation,” he said.
While acknowledging that there were problems in Japan on the issue of civil nuclear energy deal, he hoped that both countries could make progress in this field over time. The civil nuclear cooperation agreement had made little progress after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March, 2011.
The annual summit was initially slated to take place in November last year but was postponed due to general elections in December.
“Agreements always take a certain amount of time... Recent discussions on the deal have given some mometum to it but there are a number of stages we will have to go through before signing the agreement. Though I can’t say when we will be able to strike the deal, I am certain we will make tangible progress by the end of this year,” Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said and added that nuclear safety would definitely feature in the talks.
Tokyo had earlier supported the Indo-US nuclear deal. However, it is now finding it difficult to get the much needed political support to take ahead the civil nuclear energy deal with India. Singh is expected to discuss defence, economic and international issues with his Japanese counterpart. However, the Free Trade Agreement is unlikely to be signed during the visit.