Tokyo: India and Japan today decided to
speed up negotiations on a civil nuclear deal and formally
announced the firming up of a free trade agreement that will
lead to slashing of taxes up to 94 per cent over the next
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese
counterpart Naoto Kan held wide-ranging discussions on ways to
push the strategic cooperation to a higher level with both
agreeing that it was beneficial for the two countries.
In a statement to media after the talks, Kan said:
"We agreed to speed up negotiations for civil nuclear energy
cooperation, while seeking India`s understanding of our
country`s sentiment" as a nation which faced nuclear bomb
Singh, who earlier in the day said that he will not
"force" Japan on the nuclear agreement because of its
sensitivity, said, "Civil nuclear energy can be
another mutually beneficial area of our cooperation."
Earlier in the day, Singh invited Japanese firms to
participate in expansion of India`s nuclear industry.
"We would hope that Japan will be India`s partner in
expansion of its civil nuclear industry for peaceful purposes.
But I do recognise the sensitivity of the subject in Japan and
will not therefore force the issue," he told a business
luncheon meeting here.
After the extended delegation-level talks, the two
leaders officially endorsed the Comprehensive Economic
Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
The negotiations for the CEPA began in 2007 and the
agreement could not be signed today as Japan needs to complete
certain internal processes, like clearance from its Parliament
(Diet) which will take some time.
After the talks, Kan said through the meeting, the two
countries were able to confirm and "be confident about
progress in the strategic global partnership between Japan and
"We signed a joint statement confirming the conclusion
of negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership
Agreement between Japan and India," he said.
Singh described the conclusion of talks on the CEPA as
a "historic achievement" which would open up new business
The two leaders also agreed to cooperate in various
fields and discussed the situation in Afghanistan and ways to
combat climate change and push for UN reforms.