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Japan, India sign landmark nuclear energy deal

By Amy R. Connolly
Japan, India sign landmark nuclear energy deal
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe make a toast during a banquet hosted by Abe at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo on Friday. Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/European Press Agency

TOKYO, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Japan and India signed a historic nuclear energy agreement Friday that opens the door for Tokyo to advance New Delhi's nuclear energy technology, paving the way for energy-starved India to access new avenues for electricity.

The agreement, signed after six years of negotiations, is not intended to provide India with resources for nuclear weapons, but instead gives the country access to a continual source of energy. It is the first time Japan has signed such a deal with a country that is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

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"Today's signing of the Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy marks a historic step in our engagement to build a clean energy partnership," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after signing the agreement in Tokyo. "Our cooperation in this field will help us combat the challenge of climate change. I also acknowledge the special significance that such an agreement has for Japan."

The agreement has alarmed some who say it goes against Japan's disarmament policy as the only country to undergo a nuclear attack. Others worry about the safety of nuclear energy after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant meltdown in March 2011.

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he was confident the nuclear energy would be used in a peaceful manner and said the agreement is "in line with Japan's ambition to create a world without nuclear weapons."

"This agreement is a legal framework that India will act responsibly in peaceful uses of nuclear energy and also in Non-Proliferation regime even though India is not a participant or signatory of NPT," he said.

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