Indo-Japan nuclear deal to be formulated soon, says Japanese Minister

New Delhi, Aug.21 (ANI): Japan on Saturday said that the much anticipated civil nuclear agreement between the two nations was on the anvil, and would be formulated 'as soon as possible.

Speaking at a joint press conference in national capital, Japan's Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said: "These are discussions on nuclear cooperation agreement and as such, it goes without saying, we are discussing the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. As for a timeline, I would soon as possible, but we have not really set a specific deadline."

Mentioning about the stir caused by the deal in the socio-political circles of Japan, Okada said he lobbied for the inclusion of the non-proliferation clause in the agreement.

"Considering the domestic criticism in Japan, I asked for consideration on the part of India so that this philosophy of nuclear disarmament and non proliferation would be contained in the nuclear cooperation agreement," Okada said.

While calling it a win-win situation for both the nations, Okada, however, said that if India were to break its self-imposed, voluntary unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests, the deal would be suspended.

"I do not think we can say or suggest that India refrain from conducting any nuclear tests. But if such a thing were to happen, then Japan would have no option but to suspend our cooperation," said Okada.

Earlier in the day, Okada, who is undertaking a two-day state visit to India, called on Krishna to conduct the fourth round of the Indian-Japan Strategic Dialogue.

The meeting comprised crucial negotiations on the civil nuclear agreement between the two nations, which went smoothly, said officials.

Japan has been hesitant to sign a civilian pact with India because the nation is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), thus barring Japanese companies from supplying nuclear products to India.

Previously, the Indo-American 123 agreement on civil nuclear cooperation had created a worldwide stir, since India became the first nation to keep its atomic weapons and to trade in nuclear technology despite not having signed international treaties and norms on non-proliferation.

India has often maintained that it will not adhere to the NPT, and will not sign it as long as it is discriminatory and biased towards more powerful nations.

In the course of his visit, Okada and Krishna also had a productive exchange of ideas to consolidate the socio-economic and political dimensions of the bilateral relations between India and Japan.

Okada's visit is aimed at firming up the agenda for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's trip to Tokyo in October this year, during which he will have a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

The bilateral nuclear agreement is expected to be formulated before Singh's visit to Japan. (ANI)

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