Nuke, defence partnerships may boost India-Japan ties

  • Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 10, 2015 00:50 IST
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (AP Photo)

A civil nuclear pact and an agreement to jointly produce US two amphibian military aircraft may add momentum to ties between India and Japan during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India from December 11 to 13.

However, officials maintain that the “last mile efforts are still on” for their conclusion. New Delhi sees the nuclear pact as a touchstone to measure the strength of its strategic ties with Japan. The deal is crucial to India as it will help the country further its ambitious civil nuclear program and enable it to improve the ongoing civilian nuclear cooperation India has with both France and the US.

Japanese forging major Japan Steel Works (JSW) is a supplier of the critical reactor equipment of reactor pressure vessel for most firms worldwide. Indian officials hope Abe would give the necessary political push for the issue.

Nuclear issue is sensitive in Japan, the only country ever to have suffered a nuclear attack. For example, Japan wants explicit commitment on testing clauses — that is, the deal will be called off in the event of a nuclear test by India.

Read: Education on Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s India agenda

Japan wants a guarantee on non-proliferation actions and commitments similar to what India told the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group for getting exception from its guidelines in September 2008 and calls for greater ‘oversight’ on the nuclear fuel in the reactors under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.

The two sides may also discuss defence. Sources said Abe was a keen supporter of the Make in India initiative and that would lead the two sides to cooperate in the defence sector.

Sources said some Japanese firms were also likely to get the contract for the Mumbai—Ahmadabad high speed Railway corridor.

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