India to move at a slower pace on nuke pact with Japan: PM

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Tokyo, Oct 22 (UNI) While acknowledging the sensitivity of the nuclear issue in Japan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said India would tread cautiously on its effort to sign a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the economic powerhouse.

"We will move at a pace at which the government of Japan and people of Japan are comfortable," he said while jointly addressing a press conference with his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso after concluding bilateral talks as part of the fourth annual summit-level meeting between the two countries.

He was replying to a question on what India expected from Japan with regard to its plan to sign civil nuclear agreements with different countries in the light of the lifting of the ban by the United States.

Dr Singh said India was very grateful to Japan for its support to its cause in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

"It is our sincere desire to strengthen and develop our cooperation with Japan in civil energy." Asked whether the Japanese government would encourage its companies to export reactor components to India in the light of the NSG allowing a waiver to India to sign the 123 agreement with the USA, Mr Aso said both India and Japan had not engaged themselves on the issue of cooperation in the area of nuclear energy.

He said Dr Singh did mention about future cooperation in civil nuclear energy during the bilateral talks earlier today.

In this context, he said India should live up to its commitments and continuation of moratorium on nuclear testing.

"In fact, we take into account various factors." Referring to the security cooperation agreement arrived at during the summit-level talks between the two Prime Ministers, Mr Aso said this was an important agreement to secure peace in East Asia and South Asia.

Replying to a question if the security cooperation agreement was a stepping stone for a trilateral cooperation with the USA or China, he said "we don't have any target." UNI SH RP SB KP1728

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