Finally, here’s some good news for the government, which is caught in a bind over ongoing protests against nuclear power plants coming up in various parts of the country.
Japan has assured India that it is still interested in pursuing a bilateral nuclear energy pact with India, and there is no change to its policy. Both the countries stepped up comprehensive energy cooperation during the 6th round of the India-Japan energy dialogue in Tokyo on Wednesday.
As the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident had a decisive impact on anti-nuclear energy protests in countries across the world, Tokyo’s assurance assumes great significance.
“The Japanese have assured us that they remain interested in nuclear cooperation with India. Any notion to the contrary is not correct. Both sides have been working on the details of this cooperation,” Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission of India, told HT.
Ahluwalia, who co-chairs the dialogue from the Indian side, said both countries will work together to “enhance the safety of nuclear power plants”.
Another focus area, he said, would constitute joining hands to face the challenges of the global energy market, such as the change in the demand structure and rising energy prices. The two countries would launch a joint study on the pricing of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Asia-Pacific market, besides strengthening the consumer-producer dialogue on the fuel.
Japan is the world’s largest importer of LNG, and the second-largest importer of coal.
“This dialogue with Japan is comprehensive, and we are now listing out specific pilot projects. The two countries are working together in many areas, including energy efficiency, energy infrastructure, energy conservation, and promoting renewable energy,” Ahluwalia said.
To drive home the point that bilateral energy cooperation had started making a difference, he cited progress in specific projects – including the utilisation of photovoltaic modules and a micro-grid system at the Neemrana Industrial Park, Rajasthan, for minimising diesel consumption.