Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives in Japan on 3-day visit
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives in Japan on 3-day visit

Last Updated: Monday, May 27, 2013, 21:24
 
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives in Japan on 3-day visit
Tokyo: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here Monday on a three-day visit to Japan to invigorate bilateral strategic ties and push for a civil nuclear energy cooperation deal.

Singh will hold exhaustive talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Wednesday on the entire gamut of bilateral ties with special focus on giving boost to cooperation in defence, economic, energy and other areas.

Singh, accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, arrived here, his first halt in a two nation tour that will also take him to Thailand.

Official sources in the Indian side dismissed reports of India going slow on ties with Japan so as not to annoy China.

"There are sensitivities in the Japanese side particularly after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and we respect that," official sources said.

"When Japan is keen to see that whatever it does is in the direction of strengthening non-proliferation regime, India's own view is that civilian nuclear energy cooperation with Japan will only further strengthen non-proliferation regime.

"India is quite happy to proceed at the pace determined by the Japanese side," the sources said while reacting to reports that there are issues in Japan on a bilateral nuclear deal with India.

Singh's visit, originally scheduled for November last year, was postponed following the announcement of general elections in Japan in December.

In his departure statement in New Delhi, Singh said he proposed to invigorate India's relations with Japan in the political, security and energy spheres.

Singh said in his summit with the new government of Japan led by "good friend" Abe, he will build on the momentum imparted by successive summits to the India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership.

"My visits to Japan and Thailand will add depth and new meaning to our 'Look East' policy and contribute to peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific," he said while describing Japan as a "key regional and global partner for India".

Singh will also travel to Thailand on a two-day visit from May 30.

In his departure statement in New Delhi, Singh said he proposed to invigorate India's relations with Japan in the political, security and energy spheres.

Singh said in his summit with the new government of Japan led by "good friend" Abe, he will build on the momentum imparted by successive summits to the India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership.

"My visits to Japan and Thailand will add depth and new meaning to our 'Look East' policy and contribute to peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific," he said while describing Japan as a "key regional and global partner for India".

Negotiations for the civil nuclear cooperation agreement have not made much headway since Japan was struck by Fukushima nuclear disaster in March, 2011.

While Japan has backed the Indo-US nuclear deal and the exemptions given to India from international technology sanctions, successive governments in Tokyo have found the going tough in garnering political support for it in the face of stiff opposition from the non-proliferation lobby here.

The visit will also allow the two governments to take stock of the progress in flagship projects like the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, and to facilitate bilateral engagement for meaningful and mutually beneficial association.India-Japan bilateral trade in 2011-12 reached USD 18.43 billion, showing an increase of 34.33 per cent over 2010-2011, when the total bilateral trade was USD 13.72 billion. India's exports to Japan grew by 24.36 per cent as against the growth of 40.20 per cent in its imports from Japan in 2011-12.

Singh will meet Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko besides interacting with leaders across the political spectrum and captains of Japanese businesses.

National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, Pulok Chatterjee, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and other senior officials are accompanying Singh.

After concluding his Japan visit, Singh will leave for Thailand on a two-day visit from May 30.

Describing Thailand as an important "bilateral partner as well as a regional leader situated at the heart of ASEAN", Singh said he would carry forward the new dynamics in bilateral relations during his talks with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

PTI


First Published: Monday, May 27, 2013, 11:57


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