TOKYO (TIP): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe decided to speed up talks on a civil nuclear deal to allow Japan to export nuclear reactors to India and to bolster maritime security cooperation at a time when China’s postures in the seas of the regional have caused concerns.
A joint statement issued at the end of the exhaustive talks between Manmohan Singh and Abe said the two Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries, while recognising that nuclear safety is a priority for both governments. “In this context, they directed their officials to accelerate the negotiations of an Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy towards an early conclusion,” it said.
India and Japan welcomed the expanding bilateral defence ties and agreed to further cooperate on maritime issues to ensure freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce. Terming Japan as a partner, Manmohan said at a time of global uncertainties, change and challenges, India and Japan are “natural and indispensable partners for advancing prosperity in our two countries and for a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous future for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions”.
The remarks came amidst flexing of muscles by China in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Both sides expressed their commitment to continue to work to prepare the ground for India to become a full member in the international export control regimes. These included the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Agreement.
Abe stressed on the importance of bringing into force the CTBT at an early date. Japan wants India to sign both the NPT and the CTBT, which New Delhi terms as discriminatory. On his part, Manmohan reiterated India’s commitment to its unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing. The two sides signed the Exchange of Notes for yen loan totalling $ 424 billion. This includes $ 71 billion for the Mumbai Metro Line-lll project as well as the yen loan of the fiscal year 2012 for $ 353.106 billion for eight projects.
The two sides vowed to further strengthen their strategic ties and deepen economic cooperation. Manmohan said India attaches particular significance to intensifying political dialogue and strategic consultations. He said cooperation in high technology, space, energy security and rare earth minerals will also add rich content to the strategic relationship between the two countries.
The Prime Minister said there was a meeting of minds in his discussions on global and regional issues. The two leaders welcomed the expanding defence relations between the two countries and decided to conduct naval exercises on a regular basis with increased frequency.