Tokyo: On the eve of his Japan visit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that he hopes to strengthen strategic and global partnership with Japan and reach an early agreement with regard to civil nuclear energy cooperation.
"It will be my effort to use this visit to strengthen our strategic and global partnership, which also includes trying to reach an agreement with regard to civil nuclear energy cooperation," Singh told Japanese reporters in an interview.
"I do recognise there are problems in Japan and there are elections to the upper house which take place later this year. But, I do hope that we can make progress in the civil nuclear energy cooperation," Singh was quoted as saying by Japan`s Kyodo news agency.
Negotiations for the civil nuclear cooperation agreement have not made much headway since Japan was struck by Fukushima nuclear disaster in March, 2011.
While Japan has backed the Indo-US nuclear deal and the exemptions given to India from international technology sanctions, successive governments in Tokyo have found the going tough in garnering political support for it in the face of stiff opposition from the non-proliferation lobby here.
Singh, who will reach Tokyo tomorrow on a three-day official visit, said that both he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will review overall Indo-Japan relations.
"In India and in Japan there is an all-round agreement that our two countries must have a robust strategic and global partnership," he said.
During the interview, Singh also called on Japanese industry to contribute toward India`s economic growth.
"I invite the business community of Japan to take full advantage of enormous opportunities at our opening up a liberalised Indian economy," he said, adding there is an "enormous" scope for Japanese companies to invest in India, particularly in manufacturing and clean and renewable energy.
"We require robust participation of Japanese business and Japanese industries in India`s economic development. Today, we have more Japanese companies operating in India than ever before. But, in terms of their contribution to the Indian growth process, much needs to be done."