Published: Sat, November 12, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Japan, India sign controversial civil nuclear deal

Japan, India sign controversial civil nuclear deal

Japan and India have signed a controversial nuclear deal that allows Tokyo to sell civil nuclear power equipment and technology to New Delhi.

Asked about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's reference to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and CTBT, the Foreign Secretary said India understands Japan will have those positions.

India has said the NPT is discriminatory and it has concerns about nuclear-armed China as well as its long-time nuclear-armed rival Pakistan.

The deal has a separate "nullification clause" that will cancel the pact if India conducts a nuclear test - a guarantee for Japan to limit its technology for peaceful and commercial purposes. There was political resistance in Japan - the only country to suffer atomic bombings during World War II - against a nuclear deal with India, particularly after the disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.

Modi praised the signing as "a historic step in our engagement to build a clean energy partnership" that will help India to "combat the challenge of climate change".

"The Japanese-Indian deal is a significant step away from Japan's symbolic role as a strong advocate of nuclear disarmament", Akira Kawasaki of Tokyo-based Peace Boat organization told Deutsche Welle before the deal was signed.

Among Japan's largest concerns is China's increasing military presence in the South China Sea.

The agreement between the two countries was signed during a visit by the Indian prime minister to Japan and has taken six years of negotiations. Modi is visiting Japan on a. Japan, the only country to have ever come under a nuclear attack, has remained wary of signing a pact with India, a non NPT country.

The joint statement had stated that the two Prime Ministers welcomed the agreement "for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and confirmed that this agreement will be signed after the technical details are finalised, including those related to the necessary internal procedures". "I hope the advent of high-speed railway will trigger fresh economic growth in India as well", Abe said. Looking at all these competition within Asia, and India's stressed relation with China, Japan now hopes to bag all five Indian line contracts, so as to defeat China in one of Asia's biggest market.

As the leaders of the state parties to the UNCLOS, Modi and Abe "reiterated their view that all parties should show utmost respect to the UNCLOS, which establishes the worldwide legal order of the seas and oceans". But India already has committed to a voluntary moratorium on nuclear tests but going further might be politically unviable.

"We are bearing the burden for what we should bear", Japanese Minister of Defence Tomomi Inada told reporters in Tokyo on Friday, Kyodo news reported.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, speaks at the start of his meeting with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, right, at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, November 11, 2016.

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