India has decided to link nuclear testing with the termination of civilian nuclear agreement it signed with Japan two days back. This was done through a separate “note on views and understanding” to help Japan make an exception for India. The deal agreement was the first Japan had signed with a non-NPT signatory. It marked India’s crucial departure in the country’s nuclear diplomacy, earning apprehension that it may open the floodgates for renegotiation with other countries, with whom the government has signed nuclear agreement in the past.
As per ‘The Indian Express’ report, the note has a clause, which suggest that in case Japan cancels the deal in case India conducts nuclear deal, the later cannot claim compensation for disruption of electricity from a nuclear power plant and further economic losses. The shift in India’s nuclear diplomacy had come nearly eight years after India had signed the 123 pact with the United stats
The note has five clauses and starts with by recalling then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s statement to the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group in September 2008 and calls it the “essential basis” for the pact. Mukherjee’s statement had said, “We remain committed to a voluntary, unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing… We affirm our policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons.”
The note and the pact was signed a day after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s on the no-first-use policy, which he stressed was his own personal opinion.
In the note, the second clause said in applying the provisions of Article 14 of the agreement Japan may use procedures “where there is any change in this basis”.
It further says that representative of the Japanese delegation stated that “an Indian action in violation of the September 5 statement could be viewed as a serious departure from the prevailing situation” – which is a clear reference to nuclear testing and no-first use. “In that situation, reprocessing of nuclear material subject to the agreement will be suspended in accordance with paragraph 9 of Article 14 of the Agreement”, it said.
Article 14 in the text of the India-Japan agreement does not make any reference to the nuclear tests. Article 14(9) of the pact says any decision to seek ‘suspension’ will be made after talks between the two nations that will be aimed at reaching “mutually acceptable resolution of outstanding issues”. It says, the suspension will be for three months.
“In case the suspension extends beyond a period of six months, both countries shall enter into consultations on compensation for the adverse impact on the Indian economy due to disruption in electricity generation and loss on account of disruption of contractual obligations,” it says.