India to press for talks on nuclear ties with Japan
Anirban Bhaumik, New Delhi, Dec 26, DHNS:
India is likely to press Japan for the resumption of formal negotiation for agreement on civil nuclear cooperation during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s parleys with his Japanese counterpart Yoshihiko Noda on Wednesday.
Noda is arriving in New Delhi on Tuesday to hold the sixth annual Japan-India summit with Singh. The two prime ministers will hold talks on Wednesday.
While India is hoping for a surge in Foreign Direct Investment inflow from Japan in all sectors, New Delhi and Tokyo are also working on a deal between the central banks of the two countries for a $10 billion currency swap. The deal between Bank of Japan and Reserve Bank of India will help the latter manage the liquidity crisis and volatility in the money market. Negotiation for a social security agreement between the two countries is also at an advanced stage.
“I am quite sure that this (restart of negotiations on an agreement for civil nuclear cooperation between India and Japan) will be a subject that will be discussed between the two prime ministers at the summit,” Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Gautam Bambawale, told journalists.
He was replying to queries on whether India would seek formal resumption of the talks on civil nuclear cooperation with Japan.
India and Japan in June 2010 began formal negotiations for a civil nuclear cooperation agreement. But Tokyo’s decision to enter into nuke talks New Delhi sparked off strong reactions from the anti-nuclear activists in Japan, as India is one of the countries that did not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Being the only country in the world to have really experienced the devastation that atomic bombs can cause, Japan has strong public sentiments against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. But Tokyo continued nuke talks with New Delhi and the two countries had three rounds of negotiations before the mishap at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was caused by a quake and tsunami along the eastern coast of Japan.
As the mishap at Fukushima led to a global uproar over safety of the atomic power plants in Japan and elsewhere in the world, Tokyo suspended nuke talks with New Delhi.
However, Bambawale on Monday said New Delhi and Tokyo had informal discussions on an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation even after the mishap in Fukushima