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New Delhi says termination clause in N-deal with Japan is not binding

india Updated: Nov 13, 2016 19:02 IST
New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe watch foreign secretary S Jaishankar and Japan's ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu exchange the Nuclear Agreement documents in Tokyo on November 11, 2016.(PTI)

The just-signed historic civil nuclear deal signed with Japan has a “termination” clause and a separate note containing Japanese views regarding circumstances for scrapping of the agreement, which New Delhi insists is not binding on India.

The government on Sunday said the note on ‘Views and Understanding’ merely records the “views” of the Japanese side considering its “special sensitivities” and insisted that India has made “no additional commitments” over the similar agreements signed with the US and other countries.

Japan made a major exception by signing the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) with India, despite it being non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Read | India, Japan sign landmark civil nuclear deal

Signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Friday, the NCA includes the note on ‘Views and Understanding’ in which Japan has cited India’s September 2008 declaration of unilateral moratorium on atomic tests and said if this commitment is violated, the deal will be terminated.

Indian government holds that this is merely recording of the views of the two sides.

“The termination clause is there in other NCAs we have signed, including with the US (Article 14). However the circumstances triggering a possible termination are never sharply defined. Consideration also has to be given to mitigating factors,” a source here said.

“That note is simply a record by the negotiators of respective views on certain issues. It is not the NCA which is what is binding,” the source said.

The sources added that given Japan’s special sensitivities as the only nation to have suffered a nuclear attack, “it was felt that their views should be recorded in a separate Note. The Note is a record by the negotiators of respective views on certain issues.

“It states, on the one hand, what could be Japan’s views in advance on what is a hypothetical situation; that is their national prerogative. At the same time it also records India’s position on the same issue, which is a reiteration of the September 2008 commitments. No change is envisaged from those commitments and no, repeat no, additional commitments have been made by India.”

“On termination, there is no change from the US template,” the source added.

The nuclear agreement with Japan “follows the same template (as the US) but compresses the developments which have taken place since 2007. It reflects commitments which were made at the time of the NSG waiver in 2008, many of which were unilateral in nature,” according to the source.

The four steps of the Indo-US deal which have been compressed and captured into a single stage are – 123 agreement (2007), NSG waiver (2008), Reprocessing pact (2010) and Administrative mechanisms (2013), sources said.