Abe-Singh talks to boost nuke deal

The negotiations between New Delhi and Tokyo for a nuclear deal is expected to get a boost during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India although the two sides still have some sticky issues to resolve.

Abe, who is the chief guest for Republic Day ceremony this year, is likely to arrive in New Delhi on Saturday. He will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the annual bilateral summit on Tuesday.

The Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday stated that the discussions between Singh and Abe would “add substance and content” to the “strategic and global partnership” between India and Japan.

The Japanese premier would also call on President Pranab Mukherjee and witness the R-Day parade on the Rajpath on Sunday.

Sources said that Abe and Singh would review the progress in the negotiation between India and Japan for a civil nuclear cooperation agreement. The negotiations, however, would possibly receive a significant boost during the Japanese Prime Minister’s visit although New Delhi and Tokyo still had certain unresolved issues.

Japan has been insisting on converting India’s “unilateral moratorium” on nuclear tests into a bilateral commitment. Tokyo wants to insert a clause in the proposed agreement to provide for suspension of nuclear cooperation if New Delhi ever conducts a fresh test in future.

New Delhi has also been insisting on protecting India’s right to reprocess the fuel to be spent on the nuclear reactors to be procured under the agreement with Japan.

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