India, Japan call for early inking of nuke deal

India, Japan call for early inking of nuke deal

India and Japan on Thursday called for an early inking of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement, even as Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi admitted that Tokyo has “several outstanding issues” to be resolved in its negotiations on the proposed deal with New Delhi.

“There are several outstanding issues that we have... We will have these issues discussed in the working groups so that we can accelerate the efforts (for the nuke deal),” said Motegi, about a week after Tokyo and New Delhi resumed negotiation on the bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

He was talking to mediapersons after co-chairing the 7th India-Japan energy dialogue with Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

A joint statement issued on Thursday, reaffirmed the importance India and Japan attach to “early conclusion of the negotiations of an agreement for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, taking into account the joint statement of May 29, 2013 between the two Prime Ministers”.

The India-Japan Nuclear Energy Working Group resumed the bilateral negotiation on the nuke deal on September 3 last. The talks had been suspended followed the mishap at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant of Japan on March 11, 2011.

“Based on the experience of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the lessons learned from it, both sides reconfirmed the need to cooperate in enhancing the safety of nuclear power plants,” read the joint statement. It also reaffirmed that bilateral cooperation was important in civil nuclear energy sector.

Ahluwalia declined to elaborate the “outstanding issues” cited by Motegi.  “This is an important issue and there are various difficulties that still exist. This issue is still being discussed between working group. So, I think that it would not be wise for me to specify what outstanding issues exist,” he said, adding that no deadline could be set for conclusion of the negotiation on the deal.