India, Japan to accelerate talks on N deal, Tokyo wants CTBT

India and Japan today agreed to "accelerate" negotiations for early conclusion of the much anticipated bilateral civil nuclear deal.

Tokyo: Japan on Wednesday pledged to jointly work with India to make it a full member of international export control regimes like NSG and "accelerate" negotiations for early conclusion of a civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

A joint statement issued at the end of exhaustive talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe said both sides expressed their commitment to continue to work to prepare the ground for India to become a full member in the international export control regimes.

These included the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Agreement.

Expectations on substantial progress on the civil nuclear deal were belied with Abe stressing the importance of bringing into force the Comprehensive Test ban treaty (CTBT) at an early date.

Japan, the only country to have suffered nuclear attacks, wants India to sign both the NPT and the CTBT, which New Delhi terms as discriminatory.

On his part, Singh reiterated India`s commitment to its unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing.

The joint statement said the two Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries, while recognising that nuclear safety is a priority for both governments.

"In this context, they directed their officials to accelerate the negotiations of an Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy towards an early conclusion," it said.

"Everything is linked to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," Tomohiko Taniguchi, Councillor, Cabinet Secretariat, said on being asked whether India inking the NPT is linked with progress on the civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

The two sides signed the Exchange of Notes for yen loan totalling USD 424 billion.

This includes USD 71 billion for the Mumbai Metro Line-lll project as well as the yen loan of the fiscal year 2012 for USD 353.106 billion for eight projects.

During substantive talks Singh had with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, the two sides vowed to further strengthen their strategic ties and deepen economic cooperation.