Ja­pan, In­dia sign con­tro­ver­sial nuke deal

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

TOKYO: Ja­pan and In­dia signed a con­tro­ver­sial civil nu­clear deal yes­ter­day that will al­low Ja­panese com­pa­nies to ex­port atomic tech­nol­ogy to the Asian gi­ant as the two coun­tries deepen eco­nomic and se­cu­rity ties. The pact signed by Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe and his In­dian coun­ter­part Naren­dra Modi is Ja­pan’s first with a na­tion that has not signed the Treaty on the Non-Pro­lif­er­a­tion of Nu­clear Weapons (NPT).

The treaty bans na­tions other than the five per­ma­nent mem­bers of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil from de­vel­op­ing and pos­sess­ing nu­clear weapons. Ja­pan, the vic­tim of US atomic bomb­ings in the fi­nal days of World War II, had long shunned civil nu­clear co­op­er­a­tion with en­ergy-starved In­dia over the NPT is­sue. But it has soft­ened its stance as it com­petes for lu­cra­tive deals and steps up strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion with New Delhi in the face of China’s ex­pand­ing eco­nomic and mil­i­tary pres­ence in the re­gion. “The agree­ment is a le­gal frame­work to en­sure In­dia acts re­spon­si­bly for the peace­ful use of nu­clear en­ergy,” Abe told re­porters with Modi at his side.

A Ja­panese of­fi­cial told re­porters that the two na­tions have agreed Ja­pan can cease co­op­er­a­tion if In­dia re­sumes nu­clear testing. “To­day’s sign­ing of the agree­ment for co­op­er­a­tion in peace­ful use of nu­clear en­ergy marks a his­toric step in our en­gage­ment to build a clean en­ergy part­ner­ship,” Modi said. Be­sides the US and Ja­pan, In­dia also has sim­i­lar deals with France and Aus­tralia. The Asian al­lies have stepped up co­op­er­a­tion in re­cent years, sign­ing agree­ments last December on the trans­fer of de­fence equip­ment and tech­nol­ogy and on ex­chang­ing clas­si­fied mil­i­tary in­for­ma­tion.

The nu­clear deal comes against the back­drop of grow­ing un­ease over China’s ex­pand­ing role in the re­gion. 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. Modi vis­ited Ja­pan in Aug 2014 on his first bi­lat­eral trip out­side South Asia, months af­ter com­ing to power.

— AP

TOKYO: In­dia’s Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi (left) and Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe shake hands af­ter sign­ing a joint state­ment at Abe’s of­fi­cial res­i­dence yes­ter­day.

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