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Japan-India Nuclear Deal: Strengthening Relations

Dr Roshan Writes: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India has been an eventful visit as far as Civil Nuclear deal is concerned.India has been engaging with Japan for quite some time to crack this issue.

Dr Roshan Writes: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India has been an eventful visit as far as Civil Nuclear deal is concerned.India has been engaging with Japan for quite some time to crack this issue. The official statement from MEA states that the two Prime Ministers welcome the agreement reached between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India, for cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy and confirmed that this agreement will be signed after technical details are finalised including those related to necessary internal procedures”.   If everything goes well then India will be able to get new generation (1000 MW ) nuclear reactors, already Westinghouse is readying to offer a deal under which India would buy six of its state-of-the-art AP1000 reactors by March next year[1]. Also Yasuhisa Kawamura, Director General of Press and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan said the latest round of negotiations has not imposed any restrictive measures on India. “Japan is satisfied by the fact that India has a voluntary moratorium on further nuclear testing. Earlier India separated its military and civilian nuclear programme and that apart we also appreciate India’s policy on reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel which provides further safeguards,” Mr Kawamura further stated that… In view of the several steps that India has already taken in the field of nuclear safety and nuclear fuel reprocessing, Japan has not insisted on any “nullification clause” during the latest round of negotiations. This significant shift depicts the burgeoning relationship between the two countries. However it still needs to be seen whether Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be able to justify discarding of the “nullification clause” in the Japanese parliament.

It has been stated informally by top Japanese officials that a different calculation within the Tokyo administration may have tilted the scales. China’s ability to quickly reverse engineer entire plants, trains etc and position themselves as global manufacturers has shaken Japan[2]. It is believed that the Chinese construction of 1000 Mw of Nuclear power plant in Karachi, Pakistan, is the plant which has been  reverse engineered from the design of Westinghouse’s AP1000 nuclear power plant which China had acquired from the US. It’s this reality that prompted Abe to tell his senior officials that, “economic choices are security choices.” and the deal, once completed, will make it easier for companies like Westinghouse and Areva to go ahead with their nuclear investments in India, all of which needed India to have a nuclear pact with Japan[3].India has also expanded the list of countries from which India is collaborating in civilian nuclear energy. Apart from its traditional allies like Russia and the civil nuclear deal which India signed with the US, India has conducted successful uranium and nuclear power plant deals with Australia, Canada, France and South Korea. With the Atomic Energy Bill 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha on 7 December this government is slowly but surely creating environment to enhance collaborations with foreign firms to meet the nuclear power generation targets.

 

[1]Done Deal: Why Nuclear Agreement with Japan is good for India”, Hindustan Times, December 13, 2015

[2]Japan Gives India its Most Important Nuclear Deal, The Times of India, December 12, 2015

[3]Ibid

 

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