Tokyo/New Delhi: In a major breakthrough
in its quest for nuclear technology, India will launch talks
with Japan from Monday to seal a civilian atomic cooperation
pact that will pave the way for sales of advanced technology
by Japanese majors like Mitsubishi and Hitachi.
Terming the development as "very positive", sources
here said for Japan, the only country ever attacked with
atomic weapons, to announce to go ahead with such a pact with
a non-NPT signatory country shows "great resolve".
"One has to understand that in Japan, the public
sensitivity is very high on this issue. For Japanese
government to go ahead with such talks shows great resolve and
initiative," sources told agency in New Delhi.
The transfer of Japanese technology to India for
civilian use requires a nuclear pact, but Tokyo has so far
declined to conclude one as New Delhi has not signed the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
While briefing reporters in Tokyo about the upcoming
talks, Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said it was
a "tough decision" for Tokyo to enter into the talks with
India, which owns nuclear weapons outside the NPT.
Okada said the decision follows a consensus reached in
September 2008 by the Nuclear Suppliers Group to allow India
to start trading nuclear technologies for civilian nuclear
programs with NSG member states, Kyodo news agency said.
The talks on signing an Inter-governmental accord for
cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy will be
held on June 28 and 29 and India will be represented by Gautam
Bambawale, Joint Secretary (East Asia) in Ministry of External
Affairs and Mitsuru Kitano, Deputy-Director General, Southeast
and Southwest Asian Affairs Department from the Japanese side.
Sources said discussions will be held on how to
conduct talks in the future, and on the contents of Agreement
which is aimed at conducting cooperation between India and
Japan in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy which in future
will enable the Japanese companies like Mitsubishi, Hitachi
and Toshiba, all having the advance civil nuclear energy
technologies, to set up projects in India.
"It will take several rounds of talks before the
agreement is finalised, but this a major step," sources said.
Major atomic power companies of the United States and
France, both of which already have a bilateral nuclear
cooperation treaty with India, have urged Tokyo to sign the
nuclear pact with New Delhi so they can use Japanese
technology for a project to build reactors in the country.
The other countries with which India has already
signed the civil nuclear deal, included the US, France,
Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Argentina and Namibia.