Indo-Japan Nuclear Deal: People, Power and Politics

Kobe, Nov 13: With the signing of agreement, Japan agreed to sell  civil nuclear power equipment and technology to India, despite of the repeated resistance from campaigners. The two countries look forward to boost business and security ties.

The pact, signed on Friday in Tokyo by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi , marked the first time Japan agreed to such a deal with a country that is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

With the signing of agreement with Japan, India has also agreed to link nuclear testing with termination of civilian nuclear agreement. This has been signed with separate set of clause so that Japan can make exception for India.

The signing of agreement marks an important step in India’s nuclear policy and open gates for renegotiations with other countries who have signed  the nuclear pacts in the past.

While the civil nuclear agreement was publicly signed on Friday — in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe — between Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Japan’s Ambassador to India, Kenji Hiramatsu, the two-page note, between India’s top nuclear negotiator Amandeep Singh Gill and his Japanese counterpart, was not announced.

The agreement also carries clause that mentions that India cannot claim for any sort of compensations including the disruption of electricity or the consequent economic loses during the event of India conducting the nuclear test.

This substantive shift in India’s nuclear diplomacy comes eight years after India signed the 123 agreement with the US, a template it has stuck to ever since.

The two-page note lists five clauses that recalls the  then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’’s statement of Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) as essential part of the deal.

“The representative of the Japanese delegation stated that the Statement delivered by Pranab Mukherjee, then External Affairs Minister of India, on September 5, 2008 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the September 5 statement’), constitutes an essential basis for cooperation between the two States under the Agreement.”

Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar signed the agreement just after he made controversial statements on the no-first use policy which he mentioned that it was his personal opinion.

However, the critics in Japan who were victims of US Atomic Bombings fear  about  the risk involved after diverting country’s technology to India’s nuclear weapons programme.

The pact allows India to reprocess fuel and enrich uranium, though highly enriched uranium that can be used to make nuclear weapons is not permitted without written agreement by Japan.

Abe and Modi  highlighted that the deal will contribute to peaceful and use of green energy.

Abe’s pro-business government seeks to export nuclear power plants to counter shrinking sales at home since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, and has discussed similar deals with Vietnam and Turkey.

Modi praised the signing as “a historic step in our engagement to build a clean energy partnership” that will help India to “combat the challenge of climate change”.