Ja­pan, In­dia to ink con­tro­ver­sial nu­clear deal this week

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

TOKYO: Ja­pan and In­dia are set to sign a con­tro­ver­sial civil nu­clear deal this week, re­ports said yes­ter­day, as the two Asian al­lies look to boost eco­nomic and se­cu­rity ties to counter an as­sertive China. In­dia’s Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and his Ja­panese coun­ter­part Shinzo Abe are set to sign a deal Fri­day that would al­low Ja­pan to ex­port nu­clear tech­nol­ogy to the sub­con­ti­nent, the Yomi­uri Shim­bun pa­per re­ported.

In­dia would be­come the first non-sig­na­tory to the Treaty on the Non-Pro­lif­er­a­tion of Nu­clear Weapons (NPT) to agree such a nu­clear deal with Ja­pan-which was the vic­tim of US atomic bomb­ings in the fi­nal days of World War II. The two coun­tries are also set to agree that if In­dia con­ducts a nu­clear test, Ja­pan will stop co­op­er­a­tion, the Yomi­uri re­ported. The ex­pected deal comes against a back­drop of grow­ing se­cu­rity con­cerns in the re­gion over China’s mil­i­tary pres­ence.

Bei­jing is ex­pand­ing its deep-water naval pres­ence and as­serts sovereignty over dis­puted ar­eas of the East and South China Sea and In­dian Ocean re­gion, parts of which Ja­pan also claims. In­dia has a long­stand­ing ter­ri­to­rial dis­pute with China, and troops from the two coun­tries en­gaged in a ma­jor stand-off at the bor­der in 2014.

Tokyo has its own spat with Bei­jing over is­lands in the East China Sea, and is in­creas­ingly vo­cal about its ri­val’s am­bi­tions to con­trol al­most the whole of the South China Sea. Ja­pan has in the past shunned civil nu­clear co­op­er­a­tion with In­dia, cit­ing con­cerns over the in­ter­na­tional Non-Pro­lif­er­a­tion Treaty, but ap­pears to have soft­ened its stance. The busi­ness daily Nikkei con­firmed the ex­pected nu­clear deal, ad­ding that a batch of busi­ness-linked deals are also set to be signed. Modi vis­ited Ja­pan in Au­gust 2014 on his first bi­lat­eral trip out­side South Asia, months af­ter com­ing to power. Sub­se­quently Abe paid a two-day visit to In­dia last De­cem­ber.

Modi will ar­rive in Ja­pan Thurs­day for a three­day visit, af­ter the two men in Septem­ber held talks on the side­lines of a South­east Asia meet­ing in Laos.

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