India will not force n-deal on Japan: Manmohan

By Minu Jain, IANS,

Tokyo : India will not force the civil nuclear agreement on Japan as it recognises the sensitivities involved, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here Monday, indicating that the nuclear deal that is being negotiated between the two countries could be a long haul.

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“I recognise the sensitivity of the (nuclear) issue in Japan and therefore I would not force it on you,” Manmohan Singh said here, while referring to negotiations for a civil nuclear deal with Japan.

The prime minister, who is here on a three-day visit, was answering a question during a business lunch hosted by the Nippon Keidanren, a business lobby, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Japan-India Business Cooperation Committee.

The statement, which point to difficulties involved in civil nuclear negotiations between India and Japan, came ahead of the prime minister’s meeting with his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan scheduled for the evening.

Japan is the only country in the world to have suffered the horrifying impact of nuclear weapons. On Aug 6, 1945, the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, flattening the city and killing tens of thousands. Three days later, it dropped another bomb on Nagasaki.

India and Japan have been negotiating a deal on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. “We have had two rounds of discussion on the peaceful use of nuclear energy,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had said, while stressing that there was “political resolve” in both countries to take these discussions forward.

The deal, sources had said, would take some more time to fructify though there was political resolve in both countries to take these discussions forward.

“We are negotiating an Agreement on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy with Japan. I am confident that we will be able to conclude an agreement which will be a win-win proposition for both of us,” Manmohan Singh had told the Japanese media in an interview in New Delhi before leaving for Tokyo.

Stating that India sees nuclear energy as a vital component of its global energy mix, he said: “Our nuclear industry is poised for major expansion and there will be huge opportunities for the global nuclear industry to participate in the expansion of India’s nuclear energy programme. We would like Japan to be our partner in this initiative.”

(Minu Jain can be contacted at [email protected]