New Delhi lauds Tokyo for removing seven Indian entities from banned list

Notwithstanding its own nuclear disaster, Japan on Saturday assured India of taking forward the civil nuclear cooperation during the fifth bilateral Strategic Dialogue, which covered discussions on key areas, including defence and trade.

New Delhi also conveyed its appreciation to Japan for its decision to remove seven Indian entities from a banned list, paving the way for bilateral high-technology trade.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba held comprehensive talks here after which Mr. Krishna said, “My aim...is to take our partnership to an even higher level.”

“I also discussed with Foreign Minister Gemba the status of civil nuclear cooperation between our countries...We have had three rounds of negotiations on this subject. After my discussions today, I am optimistic on this score,” he said.

Noting that Japan has removed seven Indian entities from its Foreign End User List this year, Mr. Krishna said this would boost high-technology trade between the two countries.

“One of the entities removed from this List is Indian Rare Earths Limited. We now look forward to greater cooperation between Indian and Japanese firms in the rare earth sector,” he said.

Thanking the Japanese government for its consistent support to India's developmental effort by means of its ODA or Official Development Assistance, Mr. Krishna said: “This year, Japan has maintained the level of ODA for India despite its focus on reconstruction activity after the earthquake and tsunami.

“This is a strong vote of confidence in India's growth story and exhibits the importance Japan attaches to our Strategic Partnership.”

After the successful joint cooperation in establishing the metro rail network, Japan has also proposed to help India in bringing high-speed bullet trains to the country.

Mr. Gemba said Japanese companies were “very keen” on offering support for bullet trains and open to joint ventures with the Indian government or companies in implementing the project.

He said they were ready with their study report regarding bullet train projects on the Delhi, Agra, Bangalore, Chennai route and the Bangalore-Hyderabad route.

He said the freight corridor project between Delhi and Mumbai and the high-speed bullet train network are on Japan's immediate support list to India.

The Japanese Foreign Minister also emphasised the need to strengthen maritime security and combating piracy.

Mr. Krishna said 2012 will mark the 60th anniversary year of the establishment of India-Japan diplomatic relations and the two sides also discussed how to celebrate the “momentous occasion.”

He also suggested to the Japanese side the possibility of the navies of India and Japan conducting bilateral exercises besides multilateral ones.

“Our Defence Minister will be in Tokyo in a few days and will discuss this subject in greater detail with his counterpart,” Mr. Krishna said.

“We also discussed the India-Japan-United States trilateral dialogue. We agreed that it will be held very soon. It will cover regional and international issues of concern to all three countries,” he said.

Mr. Krishna also expressed confidence that trade and investment between the two countries would increase exponentially as a result of the implementation of the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) since August 1 this year.

“India, a great friend”

Later, in an unusual gesture of warmth, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda received Mr. Krishna at his residence and termed India “a great friend” of Japan.

He said he was looking forward to his visit to Delhi in December and spoke in favour of further encouraging economic ties. “I am confident of further increase in trade and investment between the two countries,” the Prime Minister said.

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