India, Japan to speed up negotiations on N-deal
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Last Updated: Monday, October 25, 2010, 21:30
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 decade.

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 attack.

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 India".

"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 opportunities.

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.


First Published: Monday, October 25, 2010, 21:30

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