With India showing willingness to sign the civil nuclear deal with Japan, Tokyo is sending top diplomat Shinsuke Sugiyama to New Delhi next week for last-minute clarifications and negotiations with top officials, including national security advisor Ajit Doval.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a two-day visit to Japan beginning September 1 before signing the nuclear agreement with Australian PM Tony Abbot on September 4.
India has put the onus of signing the pact on Japan due to extra conditions put forth apparently by foreign minister Fumio Kashida, who belongs to Hiroshima, the site of World War II nuclear holocaust, South Block officials said.
“The Japanese insistence on riders for testing nuclear weapons in a bilateral document despite India unilaterally declaring a moratorium is one of the key irritants.
India is ready to sign the agreement and it is for Japan to sort out its internal issues,” said a senior MEA official. Another issue still hanging fire is the sale with technology transfer of ShinMaywa (US-2) sea-air rescue aircraft.
While foreign ministry mandarins from both sides feel the signing of these two agreements is the keystone of a successful Modi visit, the PM wants to take the relationship to a higher level due to his personal rapport with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.
“As Japan is Modi’s first big visit, the message will be strategic as both the democracies have shared interests in Asia. The civil nuclear deal and ShinMaywa purchase are still being negotiated from techno-commercial aspects,” said a top official.
Though Japanese ambassador to India Takeshi Yagi has been negotiating with finance secretary Arvind Mayaram on strengthening economic and trade ties, matters have been escalated as potential agreements were being unnecessarily bogged down by red tape on both sides.
It is understood that the Modi-Abe meeting will see a forward movement in maritime security and defence ties.
“There will be movement in bilateral trade and commerce, with both sides identifying the areas of cooperation apart from convergence in strategy and doctrines,” said a South Block official.