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Enormous potential for Indo-Japan ties, says PM

world Updated: May 28, 2013 00:44 IST
Jayanth Jacob

India doesn't believe that balancing of power in Asia means coordinated attempts at containing China, official sources said as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here to firm up the security and economic ties with Japan.

On his arrival, the prime minister stressed on the "global and strategic partnership" between the two countries and called for "enriching" it with economic, political and security ties.

Official sources said India will be ready to give as much time as it takes to address Japan's concerns on issues of non-proliferation before two sides sign the a civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

"India and Japan have a strategic and global partnership. In all areas, there is enormous potential for widening and strengthening our relationship with Japan," Singh said.

The PM will be meeting his Japanese counterpart Shizo Abe, days after he hosted new Chinese premier in New Delhi. Abe is keen to regain Japan's prominence as a significant power in Asia.

He is an ardent supporter of greater India-Japan ties and strikes tough stand against China on issues of sovereignty. Going by his public statements and policies, Abe believes that China's rise as the second biggest economy gave it an extra swagger in taking more aggressive positions on issues.

Official sources said India's relationship with Japan is independent of its ties with other countries.

"There are new equilibria. The balance of power is shifting fast. Many countries are emerging. There are outside players and extra-regional players such as Russia (a reference to the East Asia summit). It's far more complex," official sources said. They also said all the major countries in the region are reaching out to other countries.

"The Chinese outreach to us should also be seen in this context".

The sources said they understand Japanese sensitivities on the nuclear issue. Japan - the only country in the world that came under the nuclear attack - has been nudging India to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty that India finds discriminatory.

The deal is may take more time to materalise, sources said. But, they said, Japan signing a nuke pact will strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Before negotiating such a deal, Tokyo should ask India to become a party to NPT and Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.