India and Japan on Saturday agreed to take the civil nuclear deal forward but conceded that a lot of technical discussions remain incomplete.
Briefing the media after summit level meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said, “Substantive progress in the negotiations have been made between the India and Japan. But legal, scientific and expert level talks are yet to be concluded.”
The Joint Statement issued after Modi-Abe meeting, also clarified that the final document sealing the nuclear deal will take sometime to emerge and that the “Agreement will be signed after the technical details are finalised, including those related to the internal procedures.”
Apparently, the Indian side gave assurances to Japan’s strong non-proliferation lobby to expedite the deal, but the Japanese preferred to play safe and sought time necessary for Prime Minister Abe to convince the Japanese parliament on the assurances given by India.
A major sticking point is Japan’s concerns about the state of civil nuclear cooperation in case India conducts further nuclear tests. Mr. Jaishankar downplayed the Japanese concerns and said: “India is trusted internationally. That is why we are certain that the final deal will be concluded soon.”
India needs high-speed growth: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said recent economic indicators — both India and Japan — were extremely encouraging, especially in the light of the global economic slowdown. Mr. Modi was addressing business leaders of India and Japan with his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe.
Mr. Modi emphasised that he wanted India and Japan to move ahead together, not just in the sphere of high-speed trains, but also for “high-speed growth”. He said the ‘Make in India’ initiative has become a movement in Japan and the island nation has created a fund of about USD 12 billion for it.
“Today, there is a ‘Make in India’ movement in Japan. I have been told that USD 11-12 billion fund has been earmarked for it. This clearly indicates how both the countries can move forward,” he said.
The Prime Minister also said that for the first time Japan will import cars from India.
“Maruti [Suzuki] will manufacture here... Japanese company will manufacture here and export it to Japan.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the joint statement, at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: V. Sudershan
‘Modi’s speed of policy implementation is like the bullet train’
Praising Mr. Modi’s reforms programme, Mr. Abe said, “Prime Minister Modi’s speed of implementing policies and reforms is like Shinkansen [bullet train] and his reform agenda is as safe as Shinkansen.”
Mr. Abe also said that India has become a very attractive investment destination for Japan.
On the economic front, Mr. Abe said the two countries would like to work closely as it will benefit both. “Strong Japan is good for India and strong India is good for Japan... I hope economic ties between our two countries will be ever closer,” he said.
The visit of Mr. Abe, who arrived on Friday on a three-day official visit, is expected to see progress towards India’s first bullet train.