India-Japan talks: PM puts CTBT onus on US, China
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Last Updated: Tuesday, December 29, 2009, 23:22
  
New Delhi: Pressed by Japan to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), India on Tuesday clearly put the onus on the US and China for taking a lead in this direction by ratifying it.

Japan, however, promised to relax restrictions on hi-tech trade as the two countries sought to impart greater depth to their ties by unveiling an action plan covering defence and counter-terrorism exchanges and vowing to step up two-way trade.

After his wide-ranging talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama remained non-committal on civil nuclear cooperation with India although he observed that it would be an "important agenda for future".

At a joint press conference with Singh after the talks, Hatoyama said the two countries have "differences" over the issue of CTBT and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Noting that he had discussed the issue with Singh, he said, "I expressed the hope that along with the US and China, India will sign and ratify the (CTBT) treaty.

Hatoyama said, "In response, Prime Minister Singh said should the US and China ratify the CTBT, a new situation will emerge. I believe he has stated it as a matter of fact. We firmly have to engage in these endeavours."

Singh said India was committed to "universal, voluntary and non-discriminatory" disarmament and voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing.

India and Japan also launched an action plan to take their security dialogue, including counter-terrorism, to the "next stage" and gave a push to a key economic pact. But a breakthrough in the critical civil nuclear area eluded them.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks with his Japanese counterpart Yukio Hatoyama for over an hour on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues including enhanced trade and investment, upgrading security dialogue, UN reforms, terrorism, climate change and nuclear disarmament.

After their talks, the two leaders signed an ambitious joint declaration entitled 'New Stage of India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership', which has an action plan on security cooperation as its centrepiece.

"Prime Minister Hatoyama's visit has succeeded in taking our partnership to a new stage. This is reflected in the joint statement that we have just signed," Manmohan Singh said at a joint press conference with the Japanese leader.

The action plan to advance security cooperation, based on a declaration signed in October last year, included a newly-established "2-plus-2" dialogue framework at the sub-cabinet/senior official level involving the external affairs and defence ministries.

The all-encompassing action plan includes sustaining various strategic and defence mechanisms, including an annual strategic dialogue at the foreign-minister level, regular consultations between national security advisers, and regular meetings between defence ministers.

Combating maritime piracy in the Indian Ocean and exchanging information to counter terrorism are some of the crucial elements of the action plan.

Describing the burgeoning economic ties between India and Japan as the "bedrock" of bilateral ties, Manmohan Singh noted that over the last few years the two countries have "significantly diversified relations in the areas of defence, security and counter-terrorism".

Hailing the expansion of security dialogue, Hatoyama stressed on scaling up economic ties and expressed hope that the two sides will be able to conclude a key Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as soon as possible. The intensification of trade and investment, the Japanese leader stressed, will be good not only for India and Japan but for the entire world.

Although the two leaders discussed the prospects of civil nuclear cooperation, India's hope of securing civil nuclear technology from Japan may take a while to materialise.

"We discussed civil nuclear cooperation. This would become a very important agenda in the future," Hatoyama said, indicating that Japan, a pacifist nation that swears by a hawkish non-proliferation agenda, may consider exporting atomic materials to India in future.

Hatoyama struck an optimistic note on spurring high-technology trade, saying that there was enormous scope in this area. He, however, added that India needs to assure Japan that the Japanese high-tech imports will not be diverted for weapons or to third countries.

With PTI & IANS inputs


First Published: Tuesday, December 29, 2009, 23:22


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