India, Japan sign landmark civil nuclear deal

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TOKYO: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe witness the signing of the civil nuclear deal between the two countries in Tokyo on Friday. Photo: @MEAIndia

India is the first non-NPT signatory to have such an agreement with Tokyo.

India on Friday signed a historic civil nuclear deal with Japan during the annual bilateral summit held in Tokyo. Sealing the deal was the high point of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing visit to Japan. The PM issued a media statement describing it as a ‘historic step’.

The nuclear deal which will help India access Japan’s nuclear market, had been under negotiation for six years and was firmed up during the 2015 visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India when principles of the agreement were frozen. However, the final seal on the text had to wait legislative clearance from Japan.

The last stage of negotiations on the deal was keenly watched due to a “nullification clause” which seeks automatic cancellation of the agreement if India resorts to nuclear testing in future. “If India conducts a nuclear test, Japan shall stop its cooperation for India,” Yasuhisa Kawamura, press secretary of Japanese Foreign Ministry had told The Hindu earlier in written comments explaining the “nullification clause” in the agreement.

The deal is significant as it will help guarantee Japan’s continued support to India’s civil nuclear programme. Apart from the Russian reactors, the planned nuclear reactors with France and US depend on Japanese parts. That apart, GE, Westinghouse, and Areva, the companies planning reactors in India have important ownership stakes of Japanese companies Hitachi, Toshiba and Mitsubishi, that were stopped from doing business with India without a final nuclear deal.

Negotiation on the deal began in 2010 during the UPA government however the negotiations were stuck on India’s non-membership status in non-proliferation treaty (NPT). However, Friday’s conclusion of the deal made India the first non-NPT signatory to have a civil nuclear deal with Japan.signing-of-agreements

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