Japan and India sign nuclear deal limited to peaceful commercial use

November 11, 2016 7:30 pm
and have signed a controversial nuclear deal that allows Tokyo to sell civil equipment and technology to New Delhi.
The deal, signed between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his visiting Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Tokyo on Friday, will allow Japan, a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to supply nuclear reactors, fuel and technology to India.
Although it is limited to peaceful commercial use, the deal is controversial because India has not signed the NPT.
There are concerns about the risk of the technology being diverted to India’s program.
The deal allows India to reprocess fuel and enrich uranium. Highly enriched uranium that can be used to make nuclear weapons is not permitted without Japan’s written agreement.
The deal will contribute to the peaceful use of clean energy, the two prime ministers agreed. Japanese officials said Tokyo would scrap the deal if India conducted a nuclear test.
“This agreement sets a legal framework to assure that India acts responsibly for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” Abe stated, adding that the deal urged India to effectively participate in the NPT framework. “It is also in line with Japan’s position to promote non-proliferation to create a world without nuclear weapons.”
Modi praised the signing as “a historic step” in the engagement of the two countries to “build a clean energy partnership” that will help India “combat the challenge of climate change.”
Opponents of the deal say it could threaten regional peace and security and increase the risk of proliferation.
Energy-hungry India wants to increase nuclear power generation to support its strong economic growth. The country has signed similar nuclear agreements with France, Russia, Britain and the United States.
Abe’s pro-business administration seeks to export nuclear power plants to counter shrinking sales at home since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Tokyo has also discussed similar deals with Vietnam and Turkey.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, speaks at the start of his meeting with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, right, at Abe’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan, November 11, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The prime ministers of Japan and India also agreed during bilateral talks to advance business and security cooperation. The two sides agreed to step up defense cooperation as well.
Tokyo is interested in exporting military equipment and technology to India.
The deal was signed against a backdrop of mounting regional tensions involving China.
Japan and India see the increased military presence of China in the region as a threat.
Both Tokyo and New Delhi are involved in territorial disputes with Beijing. Japan lays claims to territory also claimed by China in the East China Sea as well as in the Indian Ocean, and India has a long-standing dispute of its own along its border with China.
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