Finally India, Japan Sign Nuclear Deal, What Next?

More than six years of nods and disagreements on several clauses of using Japan nuclear technology for reactors in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe signed a deal in Tokyo today.

After the deal, Modi said: “The Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy marks a historic step in our engagement to build a clean energy partnership.”

Under the historic agreement, Japan will supply nuclear reactors, fuel and nuclear technology transfer to India, first non-NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) member. Japan has dragged its feet insisting on India joining the NPT club but New Delhi resisted to be a non-nuclear member to sign NPT and favoured to join the club as it is discriminatory.

Since Japan suffered the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, it has sought several assurances from India that it would not conduct nuclear tests any more. India has already declared a moratorium on nuclear testing after 1998.

Toshiba-owned Westinghouse Electric is being roped in to build six nuclear reactors in the southern part of India to increase nuclear capacity ten-fold by 2032.

Japan’s strained relations with China is another reason why the two Asian giants are coming together and Japan has promised aid and investment in India’s high-speed rail contracts, defence ties and now nuclear cooperation. China’s reaction is likely to be inimical to the development.

Apart from the ongoing Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project, India and Japan are focusing on a greater cooperation in regard to training and skills development, space science, marine and earth since, textiles, sports, agriculture and postal banking.

“As countries with an inclusive outlook, we have agreed to cooperate closely to promote connectivity, infrastructure and capacity-building in the regions that occupy the inter-linked waters of the Indo-Pacific,” said Modi. “The successful Malabar naval exercise has underscored the convergence in our strategic interests in the broad expanse of the waters of the Indo-Pacific.”

He said India has extended since March 2016 ‘Visa-On Arrival’ facility to all Japanese nationals and vowed to further extend a long-term 10-year visa facility to eligible Japanese business persons.

He also thanked Japan Prime Minister Abe for the support extended for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

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