Japan has option to scrap N-deal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe witness the signing of the civil nuclear deal between the two countries in Tokyo on Friday. Photo: @MEAIndia  

India on Friday signed a historic civilian nuclear deal with Japan during the annual bilateral summit held in Tokyo. Sealing of the deal marked the high point of the ongoing visit of Japan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who issued a media statement describing it as a ‘historic step’.

The nuclear deal which will help India access Japan’s nuclear market, had been under negotiation for six years and was firmed up during the 2015 visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India when the principles of the agreement were frozen. However, the final seal on the text had to wait legislative clearance from Japan, which has 13 civil nuclear agreements with countries such as France and the U.S.

India is the first non-member of the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) to have signed such a deal with Japan.

Negotiations which began in 2010 during the UPA government were stuck on India’s non-NPT status as Japan sought assurances that the deal would be used for peaceful purposes.

The last stage of negotiations was keenly watched due to a “nullification clause” which seeks automatic cancellation of the deal if India resorts to nuclear testing. “If India conducts a nuclear test, Japan shall stop its cooperation,” Yasuhisa Kawamura, press secretary of the Japanese Foreign Ministry had told The Hindu earlier in written comments explaining the “nullification clause” in the agreement.

Japan has option to scrap N-deal

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar told the media in Tokyo on Friday that the India-Japan civil nuclear agreement is “broadly in line” with other such deals New Delhi has signed so far. However, Japan Times has reported that the deal includes the option that Japan can give a year’s notice before terminating it in case India breaks the nuclear testing moratorium that it had extended to the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2008.

The deal is significant as it will help guarantee Japan’s continued support to India’s civil nuclear programme.

Apart from the Russian reactors, the planned nuclear reactors with France and the U.S. depend on Japanese parts.

That apart, GE, Westinghouse, and Areva, the companies planning reactors in India have important ownership stakes of Japanese companies Hitachi Ltd, Toshiba and Mitsubishi, that were stopped from doing business with India without a final nuclear deal.

The deal is also likely to revitalise Japanese nuclear majors that are yet to recover from the setback of the Fukushima accident.

That apart, the deal will bring Japan into the Indian nuclear market where France and Russia have already have a strong presence.

Both sides also signed nine agreements including one on cooperation between ISRO and JAXA in outer space. Another MoU that was signed covered investment in infrastructure projects in railways and transport terminals.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 8:52:49 PM |

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