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Japan backs n-pact with India
New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS):
Published on 21 Aug. 2010 11:30 PM IST
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Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada Saturday made it clear that if India were to conduct a nuclear test, Tokyo will be forced to suspend bilateral nuclear accord and urged New Delhi to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
Calling for a 10-fold increase in bilateral trade which is estimated to be around $12 billion, Okada also stressed that the two countries were confident of wrapping up negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement by the time Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Tokyo in October.
Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna held the fourth round of strategic dialogue with Okada, who began his 28-hour visit in the morning, on issues ranging from bilateral economic ties and civil nuclear cooperation to climate change and the UN reforms.
Okada also called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed his forthcoming visit to Tokyo.
“I appreciate efforts made by India towards non-proliferation and for creating a nuclear free world,” Okada told reporters at a joint press conference with Krishna after their talks.
Describing the launch of nuclear negotiations with India June 28-29, Okada underlined that it was the toughest decision he had to make as the foreign minister as Japan was the only country to have experienced atomic attacks.
With an eye on nuclear hawks in Japan, Okada countered domestic criticism, saying the agreement with India will not run counter to our goal of nuclear free world if we engage in nuclear cooperation with countries that are not part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Okada stressed that the pact with India will, however, incorporate the philosophy of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
Japan attaches great importance to an early ratification by India of the CTBT. Unlike in the past, Japan did not ask for making India’s signing of the NPT and the CTBT as precondition for nuclear cooperation.
However, Okada made it clear that any nuclear test by New Delhi will endanger their pact. “If such a thing were to happen again, Japan will be forced to suspend nuclear cooperation,” he said.
When asked about nuclear testing, Krishna skirted the question but expressed confidence that it will be “a win-win” agreement for both sides. “Japan has commenced negotiations with India to work out a bilateral agreement on peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” said Krishna.
“We agreed that the negotiations will continue quickly and that we will jointly work towards a good agreement which will result in a win-win situation for both India and Japan,” he said, adding that no timeline has been set for concluding this agreement.
There is a strong anti-nuclear domestic constituency in Japan that is opposed to doing nuclear business outside the fold of the NPT.
The mayor of Nagasaki, one of the two Japanese cities hit by atom bombs during World War II, made a declaration Aug 9 which calls for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in the world.
However, India is confident of further progress in negotiations by the time Manmohan Singh visits Tokyo towards October-end.
Japanese companies like Hitachi and Toshiba do not want to miss out on India’s growing nuclear pie, estimated to be worth $150 billion.
Krishna also thanked Japan for for removing 11 Indian entities from its end user list, saying it will “provide a big boost to high technology trade between India and Japan.”
The two ministers also gave a fresh impetus to enhanced consultations between India and Japan for expediting the reform of the UN Security Council.
Krishna and Okada, along with the foreign ministers of Brazil and Germany, will meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York to carry forward their joint effort as part of G4 for reform of the Security Council.

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