The landmark civil nuclear deal sealed on Friday with Japan is strikingly similar to the agreements India has with the US and some other countries but contains a few additional features on safety and security, reflecting Japan’s concerns on the issue.
The deal, expected to open the door for Japanese companies to set up nuclear reactors in India, will come into effect once Japan’s parliament ratifies it and India was confident of its clearance.
Briefing reporters on the deal, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar recalled that there were four stages in the Indo-US civil nuclear deal such as the signing of 123 agreement in 2007, getting NSG clearance in 2008, finalising the reprocessing pact in 2010 and finally inking the administrative pact in 2015.
In the case of the deal with Japan, he said all the “four stages that were part of the deal with the US” was compressed into one. “What was contained in the each of four stages was captured into a single stage and that was signed today.”
He said Japan’s sensitivities and concerns were addressed, adding that much more emphasis was given to nuclear safety and security.
Asked whether he was confident that Japan’s Parliament will ratify the pact, Jaishankar said, “We conclude agreements in the expectation that they are then ratified and implemented. I do not see any reason why that should not be the case in case of Japan.”
The deal would allow Japan to export nuclear technology to India, making it the first non-NPT signatory to have such a deal with Tokyo. It would also cement the bilateral economic and security ties as the two countries warm up to counter an assertive China.
There was political resistance in Japan - the only country to suffer atomic bombings during World War II - against a nuclear deal with India, particularly after the disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.
Japan is a major player in the nuclear energy market and an atomic deal with it will make it easier for US-based nuclear plant makers Westinghouse Electric Corporation and GE Energy Inc to set up atomic plants in India as both these conglomerates have Japanese investments.