No headway on Indo-Japan nuke pact on eve of Manmohan visit


Staff member

New Delhi October 23:

India said that no nuclear agreement will be signed with Japan during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's three-day visit to Tokyo, as more discussions were required before the agreement could be finalised.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters here afternoon that there is a "political resolve" on both sides to carry forward the negotiations on a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation pact. "We have had two rounds of discussions on civil nuclear energy, the second round just held, we covered a fair ground. We intend to take this discussion forward," Rao said.

Defying domestic pressures, Japan had backed India in 2008 when the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) granted New Delhi a waiver to join the nuclear suppliers club. According to diplomatic sources, negotiations on a nuclear deal with India, which is not a signatory of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is viewed in Japan with scepticism and criticism.

According to informed sources, Japan is insisting on including a caveat on the proposed nuclear agreement, wherein it will have the right to terminate any civil nuclear agreement if India conducts another nuclear test. This clause has not gone down well with Indian negotiators. India conducted nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998. India and Japan have concluded the second round of civil nuclear cooperation talks. A third round is expected to take place during Dr. Singh''s visit to Tokyo, which officially begins on Monday (October 25).