Won’t force N-deal on Japan: PM

PM Manmohan Singh said the nuclear deal issue is sensitive for Japan.

Zeenews Bureau

Tokyo: There is question mark on the fruition of a planned civil nuclear deal with Japan, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday saying India will not force the same on Tokyo.

Dr Singh, who is in Japan for an annual summit, said Japan viewed the issue as a sensitive one.

"I recognise the sensitivity of the (nuclear) issue in Japan and therefore I would not force it on you," he said here referring to negotiations for the deal.

Today’s remarks are in stark contrast to the confidence expressed by the Prime Minister on Sunday, the day he arrived in the economic powerhouse, when he said that New Delhi was ready to seal the civilian nuclear deal and boost trade ties with Tokyo.

"I am confident that we will be able to conclude an agreement (on a civilian nuclear deal), which will be a win-win proposition for both of us," Dr Singh told a group of Japanese media, before heading to Tokyo from New Delhi to meet his counterpart Naoto Kan on a three-day trip starting Sunday.

According to the PM, India viewed Tokyo as its partner in nuclear energy and a country that has "one of the highest and most advanced nuclear technologies".

India and Japan had initiated talks in June on signing an atomic civilian cooperation agreement that will allow Tokyo to export nuclear power generation technology to energy-hungry India.

But Japan, which was hit by World War II US atomic bombings, has warned India that conducting any new nuclear tests would force a halt to any civilian nuclear cooperation with the South Asian giant, as India has developed nuclear arms without signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"With regards to tests, we have unilaterally declared a moratorium on explosive testing and we have no intention" of revising that commitment, Dr Singh said in an interview broadcast by NHK.

The Prime Ministers of the two countries are today expected to declare the completion of talks on an economic partnership agreement (EPA), which Dr Singh said would open up the fast-growing Indian market to Japanese firms.

"I attach great importance to the potential of the economic cooperation," Singh said. The EPA "will boost our trade and economic ties many-fold".

Japan`s expertise in technology and India`s "fast-extending market", if combined, can bring about "mutually beneficial growth opportunities" for both countries, the PM said, as quoted by Jiji Press.

Japan could ink a "stricter" agreement with India: Japanese media

Japan could ink a "stricter" bilateral agreement with India to overcome the dilemma it faces in signing a civilian atomic pact with it, the Japanese media reported on Monday as it highlighted the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Quoting an unnamed Japanese Foreign Ministry official,
Kyodo news agency reported that Japan will be able to seek
tighter regulation of India`s nuclear programme through a
bilateral nuclear pact.

"Bilateral arrangements could be stricter than
obligations for non-nuclear states under the NPT," the
Japanese diplomat said.

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