Japan will not stand in the way of India seeking relaxation of Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines to allow for civil nuclear cooperation between New Delhi and members of the 45-nation group.
Senior Japanese officials told journalists, ahead of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s arrival on Tuesday, that Japan, at the same time, cannot take the lead in expressing support for India’s case. They said they would closely watch the “trend” at the NSG and take a cue from what emerged at the meeting, which is still to be scheduled. “Japan understands the importance of the issue from the point of view of (India’s) energy needs.”
The officials also revealed that Japanese firms like Mitsubishi, Hitachi and Toshiba were keen on getting a slice of the huge investments the opening up of India’s civil nuclear sector would attract. “This represents a big business opportunity for Indian industry.”
They said civil nuclear cooperation between India and Japan would have to tread historical anti-nuclear sentiments among the people, given what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It would have to take the form of a bilateral agreement that would also have to be approved by the Japanese parliament.
Apart from the nuclear issue, talks on global warming is also on the cards as Abe intends to raise the issue with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on Wednesday.