Modi to push Manmohan policy on N-power

Last Updated 16 June 2014, 19:28 IST

When it comes to pushing for nuclear energy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to pick up the thread from where his predecessor Manmohan Singh  left. 

Modi is expected to try to end the impasse over the proposed India-Japan civilian nuclear cooperation agreement during his visit to Tokyo early next month. 

The diplomats of New Delhi and Tokyo are currently trying to settle differences on certain key issues in order to take the negotiations to conclusion stage before Modi meets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 

Modi is likely to travel to Tokyo from July 3 to 4. He is likely to meet Abe to review India-Japan bilateral relations, with particular focus on economic and commercial ties as well as cooperation in the field of civilian use of atomic energy.

According to sources in New Delhi, certain outstanding issues bogged down the negotiations between the two countries on a framework agreement for civil nuclear cooperation. The “difficult issues” included Japan’s insistence to add a clause providing for automatic termination of the bilateral cooperation in the field of atomic energy in the event of a nuclear test by India. New Delhi was reluctant to make such a commitment and pointed out to Tokyo a self-imposed unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests since 2008, which was still in force.

New Delhi has also been insisting on protecting its right to reprocess nuclear fuel to be procured under the agreement with Japan.  

Japan’s parliament recently approved a proposed nuclear cooperation deal with Turkey, which allows the country rights to enrich and reprocess fuel procured under the agreement with Japan. 

India and Japan started formal negotiations for a civil nuclear cooperation agreement in June 2010, but the talks were suspended after the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant mishap in Japan on March 11, 2011. The negotiations resumed on September 3 last.

When Abe came to New Delhi in January as the Chief Guest of the Republic Day ceremony, he and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had reviewed the nuke deal proposal and noted “substantial progress”. They, however, could not witness its signing, as certain issues still remained unresolved. Abe and Singh asked officials to put in more efforts towards an early conclusion of the agreement.

Japanese atomic power companies like Toshiba, Hitachi and Mitsubishi have been eying the huge nuclear market opened up to the world by the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s 2008 waiver for India. Besides, even the US companies, which partnered with Japanese firms (like GE-Hitachi and Toshiba-Westinghouse), need a deal between Tokyo and Delhi in place to be able to sell India nuke technologies and equipment with components originating from Japan.

(Published 16 June 2014, 19:28 IST)

Follow us on