India and Japan boost nuclear power talks

Oct. 25, 2010 at 12:25 PM
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TOKYO, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- India and Japan announced Monday the two countries would speed up negotiations on a civil nuclear deal.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Tokyo Sunday for extensive bilateral talks with his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan, noting in advance of the two-day visit that such a nuclear agreement would be a "win-win" proposition for both countries.

Singh pointed out that no deadline had been set for finalizing negotiations.

"We agreed to speed up negotiations for civil nuclear energy cooperation, while seeking India's understanding of our country's sentiment" as a nation which has faced a nuclear bomb attack, said Kan in a statement after the talks Monday, Press Trust of India reports.

Speaking to a business luncheon earlier Monday, Singh said: "We would hope that Japan will be India's partner in expansion of its civil nuclear industry for peaceful purposes. But I do recognize the sensitivity of the subject in Japan and will not therefore force the issue."

In the past year or more New Delhi has signed civil nuclear energy deals with a number of countries, including France, Russia, United Kingdom, Canada, Namibia, Mongolia and Argentina.

Yet Tokyo has long insisted that India sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty before the two countries sign a civil nuclear deal.

But Singh told reporters in Tokyo that India has an "impeccable" record on non-proliferation. He stressed that New Delhi is committed to maintaining a "unilateral and voluntary" moratorium on explosive nuclear testing, maintaining that it has "no intention" of revising that commitment.

"We are ready to work with Japan and other like-minded countries in realizing the vision of a nuclear weapon-free world," Singh was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency.

Aside from civilian nuclear energy, Singh said India and Japan could cooperate in clean coal technology, renewable energy resources and infrastructure.

Narayanan Madhavan, an associate editor at the Indian daily Hindustan Times, told al-Jazeera the visit was "very significant because India needs the energy and Japan has a lot to offer."

"They are two large economies who need each other and from the point of view of business and energy needs, as well as in terms of money and infrastructure, it seems like a very good fit," Madhavan said.

India generates 3 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy but it aims to increase nuclear power capacity to 35 gigawatts from 4.5 gigawatts by 2020.

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