When winter comes, can spring be far behind: PM
Admitting there was “turbulence” in the political atmosphere in Delhi with the Left’s reservations to the 123 Agreement, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indicated a compromise could be on hand.
At a joint press meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe late on Wednesday, a smiling Singh said: “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
Asked whether his government could go ahead and seek Japan’s support for a waiver for India at the 45- nation Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, given the Left’s reservations over the next steps to operationalise the deal, Singh called the question a “naughty” one.
Singh said he was confident his government would be able to resolve their problems and quoted from poet Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind, providing, perhaps, “the trumpet of a prophecy”.
About Japan’s support for India at the NSG, Singh said: “When matters come to the NSG, it is my sincere hope that we get support from Japan.”
The Japanese Prime Minister, on his part, steered clear of any controversy when asked about the issue. He said he was “aware of India’s strategic importance” and appreciated India’s growing need for energy. However, he added that “as the only nation to have suffered a nuclear attack”, his government would closely watch the implications of the civil nuclear energy cooperation deal on the international non-proliferation regime. Abe said it was “essential for India to address concerns at the International Atomic Energy Agency to deal with Japan’s concerns” on non-proliferation.
The two Prime Ministers signed two joint statements; one a roadmap to provide substance to their global and strategic partnership, and another, a statement on “enhancement of cooperation on environmental protection and energy security”.
Nowhere in the joint statement on the roadmap for new dimensions to the strategic and global partnership between India and Japan is there a specific mention of the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement or the NSG.
On civil nuclear cooperation, however, the two Prime Ministers “looked forward to constructive deliberations at the relevant international fora with respect to the international civil nuclear cooperation framework, under appropriate IAEA safeguards with India.”