Tokyo/New Delhi: Emphasising its readiness to help Japan in the wake of the tsunami and quake early this year, India Saturday said it was "optimistic" about carrying forward civil nuclear negotiations with Tokyo.
In a development that will be closely watched by China, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who concluded the fifth round of strategic dialogue with Japanese Foreign Miister Koichiro Gemba, said the India-Japan-United States trilateral dialogue will be held soon.
Krishna and Gemba discussed a host of issues that included jointly combating piracy and terrorism to cooperation in negotiations for climate change and the evolving East Asia architecture. The discussions, which lasted over an hour, have set the stage for the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to India in December.
Bilateral civil nuclear negotiations, that suffered a setback after the Fukushima radiation disaster early this year, also figured prominently in the discussions.
"I also discussed with Foreign Minister Gemba the status of civil nuclear cooperation between our countries. As you are aware we have had three rounds of negotiations on this subject," Krishna said at a joint press conference with Gemba in Tokyo.
"After my discussions today, I am optimistic on this score," he said.
Nuclear negotiations with India have been a sensitive political subject in Japan, the only country that has borne the brunt of nuclear weapons since the development of atomic bombs 66 years ago.
The Fukushima radiation disaster has made the Japanese establishment more circumspect and it has put nuclear negotiations with India on the backburner.
Conveying sympathy with Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Krishna said India was "ready to help in whatever way required."
"We also discussed the India-Japan-United States trilateral dialogue. We agreed that it will be held very soon. It will cover regional and international issues of concern to all three countries," Krishna said.
Beijing is uneasy with the trilateral and sees it as an attempt to contain its rise in Asia.
Krishna thanked Japan for maintaining the level of its Official Development Assistance (ODA) to India despite its focus on reconstruction activity after the earthquake and tsunami.
"This is a strong vote of confidence in India`s growth story and exhibits the importance Japan attaches to our strategic partnership," he said.