Talks on civil nuclear pact with India will continue: Japan

Japan “has no intention to call off negotiations” with India for a pact on civil nuclear cooperation. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh may, in fact, “confirm the current situation” on this issue when they meet in Tokyo for an annual bilateral summit in less than a week, Japanese government spokesman Hidenobu Sobashima told The Hindu from Tokyo on Monday. “Progress was made” during the two rounds of parleys held so far, but “there are still some areas we need to discuss further.” The talks “will continue.”

“Our position remains the same and we expect further progress” on how to address a scenario of India testing a nuclear weapon once again, said Mr. Sobashima.

New Delhi was already told that Tokyo would find it “difficult” to stay the course of cooperation in such a situation. Japan would then have “no option” but to “suspend” or “stop” such cooperation.

He would “refrain from going into the details of negotiations” held so far. The range of issues at stake includes India’s voluntary moratorium on nuclear-weapon tests.

Political declaration

On the prospects of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) being signed during Dr. Singh’s visit to Japan from October 24 to 26, Mr. Sobashima said, “What we are considering is a political declaration rather than a formal signing of the EPA. We hope the two leaders will confirm the Agreement-in-Principle [already reached] and, perhaps, further define what may be necessary to sign the legal agreement soon.”

Without wishing to discuss at this stage the possibilities of Japan-India cooperation on issues of the outer space and cyberspace, he said Mr. Kan and Dr. Singh would “review” the whole gamut of bilateral ties and chart out future “directions.”

Important visit

In a provisional and non-official translation of remarks to the Japanese press on Dr. Singh’s prospective visit to Tokyo, Japan’s Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said, “It will be an important visit for further strengthening the strategic global partnership between Japan and India in the economic and political areas. … [An] objective is to confirm the general framework with regard to mutually promoting the negotiations on a Japan-India agreement for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. … [Another] objective is the signing [of] – although it is not a legal document – a political document for the confirmation … of the EPA.”

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 12:58:11 PM |

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