Japan still unclear on supporting India at NSG

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New Delhi, Aug 5: Visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura, who had meetings with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Tuesday, Aug 5, said that his country did not see the possibility of changing its status quoist positions on nuclear proliferation, having been a victim of the atom twice in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Talking to reporters here after a meeting with Mukherjee, Komura said that while Japan understands the benefits of civil nuclear energy, it would not be changing its position on demanding that India become a signatory of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

"Japan understands the benefits of civil nuclear energy, how it cuts carbon emissions. Therefore, we will join the dicussion at the NSG. At the same time, our country is the sole victim of the atom bomb. Therefore, we would not change our position on pushing India to sign the NPT and the CTBT," Foreign Minister Komura said.

Some hectic negotiations and explanations are needed before the NSG convenes its two meetings this month and next for making amendments in its guidelines to facilitate the passing of the US-India civil nuclear agreement. Japan has supported the India-specific safeguards agreement at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting in Vienna on August 1, but its assent is extremly important at the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group meetings. Even one veto can jeopardise the US-India civil nuclear agreement, which if passed, would end India's nuclear trade apartheid.

Mukherjee assured his Japanese counterpart that despite India being a non-signatory to the NPT or the CTBT, its commitment to disarmament is firm, and added that New Delhi's non-proliferation record was impeccable. Both leaders also expressed hope that trade between India and Japan would exceed the target of 20 billion dollars by 2010.

ANI

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