India, Japan agree on civil nuclear cooperation, differ on CTBT

A joint statement issued at the end of exhaustive talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe said both sides expressed their commitment to continue to work to prepare the ground for India to become a full member in the international export control regimes.

Published: 29th May 2013 06:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th May 2013 08:20 PM   |  A+A-

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Japan on Wednesday pledged to jointly work with India to make it a full member of international export control regimes like NSG and "accelerate" negotiations for early conclusion of a civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

A joint statement issued at the end of exhaustive talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe said both sides expressed their commitment to continue to work to prepare the ground for India to become a full member in the international export control regimes.

These included the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Agreement.

Expectations on substantial progress on the civil nuclear deal were belied with Abe stressing the importance of bringing into force the Comprehensive Test ban treaty (CTBT) at an early date.

Japan, the only country to have suffered nuclear attacks, wants India to sign both the NPT and the CTBT, which New Delhi terms as discriminatory.

On his part, Singh reiterated India's commitment to its unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing.

The joint statement said the two Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries, while recognising that nuclear safety is a priority for both governments.

"In this context, they directed their officials to accelerate the negotiations of an Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy towards an early conclusion," it said.

"Everything is linked to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," Tomohiko Taniguchi, Councillor, Cabinet Secretariat, said on being asked whether India inking the NPT is linked with progress on the civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

The two sides signed the Exchange of Notes for yen loan totalling USD 424 billion.

This includes USD 71 billion for the Mumbai Metro Line-lll project as well as the yen loan of the fiscal year 2012 for USD 353.106 billion for eight projects.

During substantive talks Singh had with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, the two sides vowed to further strengthen their strategic ties and deepen economic cooperation. .

After signing the joint statement along with Abe, Singh said India and Japan are "natural and indispensable" partners for advancing prosperity in the two countries and for a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous future for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.

The Prime Minister said India attaches particular significance to intensifying political dialogue and strategic consultations and progressively strengthening defence relations, including through naval exercises and collaboration in defence technology.

He said cooperation in high technology, space, energy security and rare earth minerals will also add rich content to the strategic relationship between the two countries.

The Prime Minister said there was a meeting of minds in his discussions on global and regional issues.

"We will seek reforms in the United Nations Security Council, an open, rule-based and balanced regional architecture and deeper regional economic integration and connectivity," he said.

Abe said maritime security cooperation will be further strengthened between the two countries and Japan will extend cooperation for introduction of high speed rail in India.

Abe said the two leaders also discussed the visit of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko by end of November or early December this year, signifying the importance Japan attaches to its growing strategic ties with India.

The two Prime Ministers welcomed the expanding defence relations between the two countries and decided to conduct naval exercises on a regular basis with increased frequency.

They decided to establish a Joint Working Group to explore the modality for the cooperation on the US-2 amphibian aircraft.

Recognising the importance of upgrading the speed of passenger trains on the existing Delhi-Mumbai route to 160-200 kmph (semi-high speed railway system), they welcomed the final report of the feasibility study undertaken with Japan's cooperation, and confirmed that further consultation between the two countries would be continued to draw up a road map, the joint document said.

The two leaders reiterated their commitment to the freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce based on the principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

They pledged to further promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation on maritime issues including counter-piracy activities.

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