India, Japan set to sign nuclear deal this week: report

November 06, 2016 04:33 pm | Updated December 02, 2016 01:53 pm IST - Tokyo

India and Japan are set to sign a historic civil nuclear cooperation deal during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to Tokyo this week, a move that will boost bilateral economic and security ties and facilitate leading U.S.-based players to set up atomic plants in India.

The two countries had reached a broad agreement for cooperation in civil nuclear energy sector during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India in December last year, but the deal is yet to be signed as some issues are yet to be worked out.

Mr. Modi and Mr. Abe are set to sign the deal on Novermber 11, 2016, Japanese Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported on Sunday.

The deal would allow Japan to export nuclear technology to India, making it the first non-NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) signatory to have such a deal with Tokyo. It would also cement the bilateral economic and security ties as the two countries warm up to counter an assertive China.

There was political resistance in Japan — the only country to suffer atomic bombings during World War II — against a nuclear deal with India, particularly after the disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.

Japan is a major player in the nuclear energy market and an atomic deal with it will make it easier for U.S.-based nuclear plant makers Westinghouse Electric Corporation and GE Energy Inc. to set up atomic plants in India as both these conglomerates have Japanese investments.

According to the report, India and Japan are also likely to agree that if New Delhi conducts a nuclear test, the bilateral cooperation will stop.

A delegation of Japanese parliamentarians had called on Mr. Modi on November 3, 2016, in New Delhi ahead of his visit commencing on November 11. On Thursday, Mr. Modi also pitched for strengthening bilateral cooperation in the field of disaster management and risk reduction.

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