Nuclear, defence deals likely during Japan PMís India visit

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Old 07-Dec-2015
Post Nuclear, defence deals likely during Japan PMís India visit

As Japanís Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepares for his mid-December India visit, the government is hopeful that ties between the two nations, which have got better of late, will get further boost.
The progress can be attributed to the China factor and its recent aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea, which has seen Japan and India move closer. Another reason could be the ďpersonal chemistryĒ shared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Japanese counterpart.
While the dates for the visit are yet to be announced, sources said it could be December 11-12. On the second day of his visit, Abe is likely to travel to Modiís constituency Varanasi and may also pay his respects at Sarnath. It has been learnt that Foreign Ministry officials have been working with other central agencies to take care of this visit.
Of late, India-Japan relations have grown in many dimensions. The civil nuclear co-operation agreement, currently under discussion, however, has seen a slow progress. The main reason is Japanís domestic concerns where signing such a deal with India, which has yet to sign the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty), is seen as a risk by many.
India, despite its clean track record in proliferation, is negotiating hard with Japan, the only country to have faced an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War-II and the Fukushima tragedy of 2011. Both the incidents have made the country extremely sensitive towards nuclear threats. While the signing of this deal would be the highlight of Abeís visit, negotiations continue on both sides and are likely to go on till the last minute.
India and Japan are also likely to give a major boost to their defence co-operation and a number of agreements are likely to be signed during the visit. The most significant one would be the agreement to jointly produce the amphibious aircraft US-2.
During Modiís visit to Tokyo last year, Japan had announced doubling of its private and public investments in India to the tune of USD 34 billion over the course of five years. Two months ago, India, Japan and the United States held the first ministerial trilateral in New York. The coming together of these three countries, who then called for freedom of navigation and promised co-operation in maritime security, set Chinese alarm bells ringing.

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