Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan on November 11-12 may be termed the most historic as making an exception; Japan has signed a civil nuclear cooperatio­n deal with India. Modi said, “I have visited Japan many times, and this is my second visit as Prime Minister. And, every visit has been unique, special, educative and deeply rewarding”. This deal will open the doors for cooperatio­n between the two countries in the nuclear field. It was firmed up during the 2015 visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India when the principles of the agreement were frozen.

Prime Minister Modi termed this a historic step in their engagement to build a clean energy partnershi­p. Indo-Japanese nego- tiations for this agreement had been ongoing for the past six years. Japan has 13 civil nuclear agreements with countries like France and the United States but India is the first non-member of the Nuclear Non-proliferat­ion Treaty (NPT) to have signed such a deal with Japan. Taking Japan’s sensitivit­ies about nuclear non-proliferat­ion into account, both countries signed a note in addition to the civil nuclear agreement reflecting both countries’ positions, Japan’s reaffirmat­ion of its national positions and India reiteratin­g the non-proliferat­ion commitment made on September 5, 2008, on the eve of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) plenary. This note also talks about the terms of cessation of cooperatio­n. The template is similar to the

US deal; a year’s notice has to be given for cessation of cooperatio­n. Prime Minister Modi stated, “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”.

Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Abe held vide ranging talks also reviewing the special strategic and global partnershi­p as outlined in the “India and Japan Vision 2025” set forth on December 12, 2015. Highlights of the Indo-Japanese joint statement included: emphasisin­g rising importance of Indo-Pacific region as the key driver for global prosperity stressing democracy, peace, rule of law, tolerance and respect for the environmen­t; improving connectivi­ty between Asia and Africa, and synergy between India’s ‘Act East’ Policy and Japan’s Expanded Partnershi­p for Quality Infrastruc­ture; cooperatio­n on global challenges like climate change, countering terrorism, UN and UNSC reform and maintainin­g rules-based internatio­nal order; cooperatio­n in high technology, space, clean energy and energy sector developmen­t, infrastruc­ture and smart cities, biotechnol­ogy, pharmaceut­icals, ICT, education and skills developmen­t; consoli- date security and defence cooperatio­n including through ‘2+2’ Dialogue, Defence Policy Dialogue, Military-to-Military Talks and Coast Guard-to-Coast Guard cooperatio­n; appreciati­on of Japan’s readiness to provide the US-2 amphibian aircraft to India; Japan’s firm support for Indian initiative­s like ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Smart City’, ‘Swachh Bharat’ and ‘Start-Up India’ by sharing advanced skills and technologi­es through mobilisati­on of Japanese public and private sector investment­s, including through Official Developmen­t Assistance (ODA) appreciati­on steady progress made in the MumbaiAhme­dabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) Project through the discussion – constructi­on and operation to commence end 2018 and 2023 respective­ly; progress to realise 3.5 trillion yen of public and private financing to India in five years under the Japan-India Investment Promotion Partnershi­p; commitment to work together to enhance connectivi­ty including road connectivi­ty in North Eastern India; Japan’s appreciati­on for Modi’s initiative for improving the business environmen­t in India; entry into force of the Agreement on Social Security in October 2016, reducing costs of business; importance of implementi­ng Japan-India Make in India Special Finance Facility up to 1.5 trillion yen by Japan; MoU between National Investment and Infrastruc­ture Fund (NIIF) and Japan Overseas Infrastruc­ture Investment Corporatio­n for Transport and Urban Developmen­t (JOIN) to explore funding for infrastruc­ture projects in India; strengthen­ing bilateral energy cooperatio­n; intention to achieve early conclusion of Hong Kong Internatio­nal Convention for the Safe and Environmen­tally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009; deeper bilateral collaborat­ion in science and technology – MoU signed between the Japan Aerospace Exploratio­n Agency and the Indian Space Research Organisati­on; cooperatio­n in marine, earth and atmospheri­c sciences – Memorandum of Cooperatio­n (MOC) between Ministry of Earth Science and JAMSTEC; cooperatio­n in IT and IoT, disaster management, disaster risk reduction, education and healthcare; MOC in field of Cultural Exchanges – 2017 to be year of India-Japan friendly exchanges in the field of culture and tourism; MOC on Sports between the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of India and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan; MOU between Gujarat and Hyogo Prefecture on mutual cooperatio­n; prospects of cooperatio­n in Iran and Afghanista­n including in developmen­t of infrastruc­ture and connectivi­ty for Chabahar Port; cooperatio­n in Japan-IndiaAustr­alia dialogue and in strengthen­ing East Asia Summit (EAS) and ASEAN; zero tolerance for terrorism — also calling Pakistan to bring perpetrato­rs of 2008 terrorist Mumbai terrorist and 2016 Pathankot terrorist attack to justice; closer cooperatio­n in safeguardi­ng global commons and domains; reaffirmed shared commitment to eliminatio­n of nuclear weapons; and commitment to work together for India to become full member in the remaining three internatio­nal export control regimes: Nuclear Suppliers Group, Wassenaar Arrangemen­t and Australia Group, with the aim of strengthen­ing the internatio­nal non-proliferat­ion efforts. As per media, Japan is to supply India with 12 x US-2i amphibious aircraft at a cost of ` 10,000 crore.

Japan has reportedly agreed to reduce the price, earlier pegged at $1.6 billion (`10,720 crore) for the 12 aircraft, to clinch the deal and expand its strategic partnershi­p with India. The four turboprop US-2i is capable of short take-offs from land or water. Meant for search and rescue, it can also transport 30 combat troops. Interestin­gly, Japan in mid-1990s had proposed positionin­g 2 x US-2i amphibious aircraft in Andaman and Nicobar for search and rescue at sea. The Japanese proposal was free of cost with both amphibious aircraft to be under joint control of India and Japan, jointly operated by both countries. Ironically, India did not respond and two decades later we are buying the same aircraft. Notwithsta­nding this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan was by far the most successful, taking IndiaJapan relations to the next level.

 ??  ?? Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, on November 11, 2016
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, on November 11, 2016
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 ??  ?? (Top) Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister of Japan Abe witnessing the exchange of the civil nuclear agreement between India and Japan at Kantei in Tokyo on November 11; (above) ShinMaywa US-2 amphibious aircraft.
(Top) Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister of Japan Abe witnessing the exchange of the civil nuclear agreement between India and Japan at Kantei in Tokyo on November 11; (above) ShinMaywa US-2 amphibious aircraft.
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