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India, Japan to launch defence plan
New Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS):
Published on 28 Dec. 2009 10:35 PM IST
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India and Japan will launch a defence action plan to firm up their strategic partnership, which includes jointly combating maritime piracy, a Japanese official said here Monday, a day ahead of talks between the leaders of the two countries. Tokyo also stressed that the India-Japan security partnership is not directed at containing China. The defence action plan will lay out a framework for deepening security cooperation, Kazuo Kodama, press secretary with Japan’s ministry of foreign affairs, told reporters. The new security dialogue will be conducted in “2 plus 2 format” that will be headed by junior defence and foreign ministers of the two sides. The two countries signed a joint declaration on a security cooperation agreement during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Tokyo last year. India is the second country after the US with which Japan has signed such an agreement. The action plan is set to give more content and depth to this agreement. Jointly combating maritime piracy in the Indian Ocean will be a primary focus area of the defence action plan that will be unveiled Tuesday after talks between Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Yukio Hatoyama. The two leaders will also review the status of the Economic Cooperation Agreement (EPA) and instruct their negotiators to conclude a mutually acceptable agreement, Kodama said. The two sides have already held 12 rounds of negotiations over EPA, but the proposed pact is stuck in differences over including services in its ambit. Kodama, however, stressed that the burgeoning security partnership between India and Japan is not directed against China. The promotion of India-Japan partnership should not be at the expense of the third country, Kodama said. Nuclear deal unlikely as Japan sounds CTBT alert New Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS): A day before leaders of India and Japan hold talks, the prospects of a civil nuclear deal between the two countries receded as a Japanese official Monday urged New Delhi to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). “Japan hopes that India will sign and ratify the CTBT,” Kazuo Kodama, press secretary with Japan’s ministry of foreign affairs, told reporters here. He was responding to a question on the prospects of Japan supplying civil nuclear technology to India. India is opposed to signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the CTBT as it believes that these treaties are “discriminatory” and divide the world into the nuclear haves and have-nots. Japan, the only nation in the world to have been attacked by nuclear weapons, is known for its hawkish stance on nuclear non-proliferation issues. Kodama, however, added that the issue of civil nuclear cooperation will be discussed when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh holds talks with his Japanese counterpart Yukio Hatoyama Tuesday. Hatoyama, who is on a three-day visit, arrived here from Mumbai Monday afternoon. “The importance of nuclear energy in our fight against climate change will be discussed,” Kodama said. Welcoming India’s commitment to maintaining unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing, Kodama added: “At the same time, Japan hopes that India will sign and ratify the CTBT.” He also stressed on the need for India to accelerate negotiations on concluding Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). When asked whether Japan will allow Japanese companies to supply nuclear material to India, Kodama said no decision has been taken by Tokyo on this issue. GE Hitachi and Toshiba-Westinghouse, US-Japan joint ventures, are among those who are already in touch with Indian authorities for supply of nuclear technology and materials. Kodama added that Japan is open to high-technology trade between the two countries that are subject to stringent export laws. “There will be ample space for cooperation in this area,” he said. After initial hesitations, Tokyo supported waiver for New Delhi in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) last year that reopened the doors of global atomic trade for India after a gap of 34 years. Japan is a world leader in civilian nuclear technology and depends on atomic power for over 40 percent of its electricity requirements.

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