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Signing of Japan-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement Opens Up Nuclear Reactor and Technology Transfer from Japan to India

Nov. 11, 2016 (EIRNS)—The visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have signed the landmark Japan-Indian nuclear cooperation agreement today in Tokyo. The agreement needs to be ratified by the Japanese Diet. "Today’s signing ... marks a historic step in our engagement to build a clean energy partnership," Modi told a joint news conference with his Japanese counterpart, Abe.

Once the agreement gets ratified, it would open the door for Tokyo to supply New Delhi with fuel, equipment and technology for nuclear power production. It was the first time Japan had concluded such a pact with a country that is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). The agreement was in the works since 2010 and it is evident that Modi and Abe had played crucial roles in getting it formally signed. The agreement with Japan follows a similar one with the United States in 2008, which gave India access to nuclear technology after decades of isolation.

For India, the agreement with Japan accomplishes more than what its agreement with the United States achieved, since Japan is the largest manufacturer of nuclear reactors and has the updated technology. India is already in advanced negotiations with the U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric, owned by Japan’s Toshiba Corp, to build six nuclear reactors in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. India is also negotiating with the GE-Hitachi to supply six more reactors. Without the agreement, these contracts would have fallen through.

The Hindu reported today that

"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."

India maintains a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing, but has thus far refused to sign on to the NPT, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) or given any other undertaking outside of its commitments at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The

"nullification clause" has been agreed upon in a separate document in which India would assure Japan that its cooperation would be "limited to peaceful purposes."

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