India, Japan hold 2nd round of N talks ahead of PM visit

The latest round comes over three months after the launch of talks for civil nuclear cooperation and barely days before Singh's visit to Tokyo from October 24.

Joint Secretary (EastAsia) Gautam Bambawala leads the Indian side while Special Representative Mitsuru Kitano is heading the Japanese delegation at the two-day talks here, sources told PTI.

The timing of the second round signifies a major forward movement towards early conclusion of the pact, the sources said. However, when asked if the pact can be inked during Singh's visit, the sources said that there was no timeline for signing it.

Besides the discussion on the contents of the agreement which is aimed at forging cooperation between India and Japan in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the two sides also deliberated upon the contours of the proposed pact.

The negotiations for the pact were launched on June 28 when officials of both the countries met for the first round in Tokyo.

The agreement will enable the Japanese companies like Mitsubishi, Hitachi and Toshiba, all having the advance civil nuclear energy technologies, to set up projects in India, which, according to some estimates, has a market of nearly USD 150 billion.

Major atomic power companies of the United States and France, both of which already have a bilateral nuclear cooperation treaty with India, have urged Tokyo to sign the nuclear pact with New Delhi so that they can use Japanese technology for building reactors in the country.

The other countries with which India has already signed the civil nuclear deal included the US, France, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Argentina and Namibia.

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