'Japan will be on our side on N-energy' | india | Hindustan Times
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'Japan will be on our side on N-energy'

However, Manmohan qualified this by saying that 'Japanese sensitivities on nuclear matters have to be respected'.

india Updated: Dec 17, 2006 00:58 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said he was "convinced" that Japan will be on India's side when the time comes for the Nuclear Suppliers Group to take a final call on global civil nuclear cooperation with New Delhi.

"I am convinced that when the time comes, Japan will be on our side," he told reporters while returning home after a four-day visit to Japan.

"No, I am not all disappointed. There is adequate appreciation of the fact that India needs nuclear power for its energy security," Manmohan Singh said when asked by reporters whether he was disappointed that Japan had adopted a circumspect approach on civil nuclear cooperation with India.

He, however, qualified this by saying that the "Japanese sensitivities on nuclear matters have to be respected because they are the only country to have been devastated by nuclear bombs".

Manmohan Singh had raised the issue of civilian nuclear cooperation with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at summit-level talks in Tokyo on Friday.

Japan, an influential member of the NSG known for its hawkish views on nuclear non-proliferation, had agreed to engage in discussions with India on this issue but had made it clear that Tokyo would wait for New Delhi to conclude its negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before making up its mind on backing India at the NSG.

New Delhi, however, chose to see Japan's willingness to engage in discussions on civil nuclear cooperation with India "under appropriate safeguards" as an advance, given Tokyo's extreme sensitivities on the issue.

The prime minister's statement also showed that India was confident of engaging in nuclear diplomacy with all NSG members with the hope of winning them around to backing the India-US civil nuclear deal and modifying its rules for global civil nuclear commerce with India.

The US Congress had passed a landmark legislation that would lead to the resumption of civil nuclear commerce with India after three decades of technology denial to New Delhi for refusing to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.