Indo-Japan nuclear deal

November 2, 2010 at 10:11 am Leave a comment

The Indo-Japan relationship scaled a new height after Japan successfully opted to negotiate with India regarding civil nuclear cooperation between the two states. The ice-breaking decision was taken on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Toronto, where for the first time Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his new Japanese counter-part, Naoto Kan, discussed the global security situation, including the civil nuclear cooperation.
Both in the economic and political realms, India-Japan relations are materializing fast. But the question is, Will Japan cross the nuclear Rubicon by signing the nuclear deal with the non-NPT member, nuclear India? The question is important because Japan, as a victim of the use of nuclear weapons, unilaterally renounced nuclear war and signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1970 which was ratified by the Diet in 1976.
The legislation would provide the guarantees required by India’s potential suppliers to protect them against legal action if their equipment or materials are involved in a nuclear accident within India.
Japan and India were engaged in two important events in New Delhi earlier this month. On July 6, they held annual foreign office consultations where the Indian side was led by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, while the Japanese side was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Kenichiro Sasae. The Indians expressed their appreciation for removal of several Indian entities from the Japanese End User List, thereby promoting High Technology Trade between the two countries.
The two countries are engaged in deepening of bilateral ties in such diverse areas as defense, business, high technology trade, science and technology and culture and the process has gained momentum in last one decade.
Sources say, Very soon, probably by next year, Japan will cede to China the number two rank in world economy. China poses the biggest strategic challenge to Japan and is a potential security threat as well. On the other hand, India poses no such threat to Japan in near or distant future. It is therefore in Japan’s national interest to get closer to India. The nuclear deal will be a game changer and a win-win situation for both Japan and India.


The major challenges to the nuclear deal emerge from two quarters-first, the anti-nuclear lobby backed by prominent members like Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue. Secondly, from the fragile political leadership; former Prime Minster Hatoyama Yukio’s inability to handle the issue over the Futenma air base in Okinawa led him to resign from office. Thus Kan is constantly counseled to exercise caution in formulating the nuclear deal with India. Unlike the Indo-US nuclear deal, India and Japan fixed no time limit in formulating the deal; therefore Premier Kan has the option to postpone the deal indefinitely in order to pacify rousing Japanese sentiments over the issue.
However, the nuclear deal remains priority number one in Indo-Japan relations. India is a growing double-digit economy, and has the potential to impart a geo-political impetus. This is a major factor that compelled Japan to embark on negotiations for the civil nuclear deal.
Japanese technology is primary for the US and French firms to start the construction of nuclear reactors for India. Therefore, it becomes difficult for India to implement the nuclear deals with US and France without reaching a consensus with Japan.
India maintains a good track record on non-proliferation. This will positively help it to reach an agreement with Japan on the nuclear deal similar to that of 1-2-3 agreements between India and America. The nuclear deal has entered a crucial phase in Indo-Japan relations. The sixty-year Indo-Japan diplomatic relationship demands a major diplomatic initiative in solving the nuclear tangle.


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Indo-Japanese trade and civil nuclear pact

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