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Manmohan Singh in TOKYO
India, Japan likely to sign N-agreement
Ruchika M. Khanna in Tokyo
Tribune news service

India is ready to seal a civil-nuclear deal and boost trade ties with Japan as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh embarked on the most significant part of his Asia tour that began on Sunday. Though the actual signing of the treaty will take a long time, both New Delhi and Tokyo will be discussing the issue so that it reaches its logical conclusion.

The PM arrived here late in the evening and was received by Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Ikuo Yamahana. Besides holding discussions with political leaders and the Emperor of Japan, Manmohan Singh will also be meeting business leaders here tomorrow.

While India is keen on the treaty being signed as Japan has one of the highest and the most advanced nuclear technologies, Japan is keen on exporting its nuclear power technology to energy-hungry India. Several rounds of talks between New Delhi and Tokyo have already taken place, and it is likely to be a long discussion, considering New Delhi’s stance on not making the deal any different from what it has made with other countries.

Though India has made its position clear that the deal will not be any different from its deal with other countries, Japan, too, has raised its concerns over India conducting any new nuclear tests. Tokyo has cautioned if India were to conduct any new nuclear tests, it would be forced to halt the civil-nuclear cooperation with New Delhi.

“But it’s a win-win situation for both sides. Though this is still a sensitive subject in Japan, they will have to work it out. For Japan, there are economic concerns too in sealing this deal, as a number of Japanese companies are lobbying with their government to enter into the deal soon. Having come this far, and with a political resolve to take up the talks further, we are confident of the deal being sealed soon,” said a source.

India and Japan have had a long-term strategic relationship. It has given options for growth, which, in the long term, will affect the future of relations between New Delhi and Tokyo. India, with its teeming young population, is a very big and strategic market for an ageing Japan.

India being the largest recipient of aid from Japan and the latter’s investment in infrastructure growth in India, especially in Dedicated Freight Corridor and Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, a host of economic aspects will also be discussed in the meeting with Prime Minister Naoto Kan scheduled for tomorrow. Other than this, the issue of bilateral defence exchanges, like naval excursions in Japan, will also be discussed.





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