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PM reaches Tokyo, seeks N-deal with Japan

By Ajay Kaul
October 24, 2010 17:11 IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Tokyo on the first leg of his three-nation visit, during which he would hold talks with his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan on a range of issues, including civil nuclear energy cooperation.

Singh is in Japan for a two-day visit and will proceed from to Malaysia and later Vietnam for the ASEAN-India and East Asia Summits. In Tokyo, Singh will discuss civil nuclear energy cooperation with Kan, besides security cooperation and ways to enhance economic ties and joint infrastructure projects being carried out in India. In his departure statement, the Prime Minister said: "The tradition of Annual Summits with Japan has resulted in a strong, vibrant and multi-dimensional relationship between India and Japan.

"Strengthening of the India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership enjoys fullest support across the political spectrum in both our countries and is a factor of peace, prosperity and stability in Asia and the world," he said. Noting that Japan is a major economic partner of India, Singh said the country has embarked upon mega infrastructure projects with Japanese assistance which have the potential of transforming the economy.

"Our trade and economic relationship is set to enter a new phase. I look forward to detailed discussions with Prime Minister Kan on bilateral, regional and global issues," he said. During the visit, an announcement will be made on conclusion of negotiations on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which India says will lead to a "win-win" situation. The agreement will not be signed during the visit as Japan needs to complete certain internal processes, like clearance from its Parliament (Diet) which will take sometime. With regard to the proposed civil nuclear cooperation agreement, the two sides have held two rounds of negotiations and more would be required before it is signed. The next round will be held in November. Singh and Kan will also discuss regional and international issues like UN reforms for which both the countries are pushing for their membership under the G-4 grouping.

India is confident of signing a "win-win" civilian nuclear deal with Japan and is looking forward to a comprehensive economic partnership agreement to boost bilateral trade, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said. "I am confident that we will be able to conclude an agreement (on nuclear deal), which will be a win-win proposition for both of us. We have not laid down any deadline for concluding these negotiations," Singh said.

Asserting that India has an "impeccable" record on non-proliferation, he told the Japanese media that his country is committed to maintaining a "unilateral and voluntary" moratorium on explosive nuclear testing and has "no intention" of revising that commitment. "We are ready to work with Japan and other like-minded countries in realising the vision of a nuclear weapon-free world," Singh was quoted as saying by the Kyodo news agency. There is reluctance in Japan, the only country to have witnessed a massive atomic attack, to proceed with the civilian nuclear deal with India because New Delhi is not part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). So far, the two countries have held two rounds of negotiations on the issue. PM Singh said that India would like Japan to be its partner in nuclear energy in view of the advanced capabilities of Japanese firms in the nuclear field and the important role they play in the global supply chain.

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