India for early conclusion of nuke deal with Japan

Written by PTI | Nay Pyi Taw | Updated: Aug 11 2014, 02:38am hrs
Sushma SwarajExternal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj meets Pham Binh Minh, Foreign Minister of Vietnam, on the sidelines of 47th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. PTI
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's high-profile visit to Japan, India today conveyed to its strategic partner that it was "very keen" on bringing the negotiations on a bilateral civil nuclear deal to its logical conclusion as soon as possible.

In a meeting, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida also discussed a range of key issues so that Modi's visit to Japan has a "very very substantive outcome".

In the meeting held on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit Foreign Minister's gathering here, the Japanese Foreign Minister conveyed to Swaraj that a special envoy will be sent to New Delhi to discuss pending issues relating to the civil nuclear deal.

"The External Affairs Minister was pretty clear that it was time for India and Japan to bring to its logical conclusion the discussions we are having on civil nuclear cooperation," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said. Both the countries are holding negotiations for the deal for last four years.

Akbaruddin said the Japanese Foreign Minister indicated his country attached great importance to India's views and that he has taken note of Swaraj's views and articulation about it.

"It is understood that they will send an envoy to discuss this matter. As you are aware that there is still sometime between now and Prime Minister's visit there," he said.

Akbaruddin said both sides were working for a "very very substantive outcome for Prime Minister's visit there".

Asked about dates of Modi's visit, he refused to give details.

"They held discussions on a series of issues that could work as outcomes for Prime Minister's visit."

Prime Minister Modi was scheduled to visit Japan in July but the trip was postponed in view of the Budget session of the Parliament.

On Modi's proposed visit, the Japanese Foreign Minister conveyed to Swaraj that his country was looking forward to ensuring that the Prime Ministers visit would be "extremely successful and substantive".

An agreement on civilian nuclear energy would open up the Indian market to Japanese players.

While Japan has backed the Indo-US nuclear deal and the exemptions given to India from international technology sanctions, successive governments in Tokyo have found the going tough in garnering political support for it in the face of stiff opposition from the non-proliferation lobby there.

Negotiations for the civil nuclear cooperation agreement had slowed down after Japan was struck by Fukushima nuclear disaster in March, 2011.

In his meeting with Swaraj, the Japanese Foreign Minister said his country was "deeply touched" over Indian Parliament's observance of the Hiroshima Day on August 6.

He said he himself belongs to Hiroshima and was also personally touched by Indian Parliament paying tribute to victims of the tragedy.

Both Kishida and Swaraj also held discussion relating to possible high-level interaction. Kishida indicated to Swaraj that Foreign Ministers of both the countries should meet for the annual dialogue following Modi's visit.

They also held discussion on cooperation in G4 grouping. Both the Ministers underlined the need to work together during the 70th anniversary of UN which will begin in 2015.

Both the Ministers also agreed that they should meet on the sidelines of UN General Assembly.