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India, Japan to launch annual talks on N-issue

The two nations also reaffirmed their commitment to the expansion of the UN Security Council.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2006 20:18 IST
Agencies

Taking bilateral ties to a new plane, India and Japan on Wednesday decided to launch high-level annual talks on nuclear issue, agreed to strengthen defence relations and work for early finalisation of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

The two sides also agreed to upgrade the strategic dialogue from Secretary level to Foreign Minister level and decided to undertake feasibility study on Japan-funded freight corridor projects between Delhi and Mumbai and Delhi and Howrah.

After the talks between Minister of External Affairs E Ahamed and visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, the two sides said they had agreed to launch a Joint Secretary or Director General-level Annual dialogue on disarmament and non-proliferation, with the "objective of promoting commonalities and enlarging areas of convergence for mutual cooperation in a constructive manner, thereby contributing to the advancement of overall bilateral relations."

The dialogue will also address the issues relating to high technology trade, a Joint press release issued after the talks said.

A senior Japanese official told reporters that the framework can be used to discuss the issues of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), including lifting of sanctions on high-technology trade with India.

"Japan government understands the importance that you (India) give energy and peaceful use of energy. But you know nuclear issues are very important for us. So we should discuss these issues further," he said.

Committed to G4, UN reforms

India and Japan also reaffirmed their commitment to the expansion of the UN Security Council and called for mobilising maximum support to the G4 grouping formed for the purpose.

"The ministers emphasised the need for urgent and comprehensive reform of the UN, including expansion of the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories," the joint press release said.

The two sides stressed that the coming together of the G4 that includes India, Japan, Brazil and Germany was a "significant development" and called for garnering widest possible support from other countries.

"We are committed to the G4. We support close coordination among G4 countries to achieve its aim of expanding the Security Council," Toshinori Katori, press secretary with the Japanese embassy told reporters.

He refuted speculation about any weakening of Japan's commitment to the G4.

"We are also engaged in a dialogue with the US over UN reform of the Security Council," Katori added.

Taro Aso also met Indian officials, including National Security Adviser MK Narayanan, and President APJ Abdul Kalam and discussed bilateral ties including the UN reforms.

First Published: Jan 04, 2006 19:55 IST