India will seek Japan’s nuclear help, but not force the issue, says Manmohan Singh (Lead- Manmohan Singh)

Monday, October 25, 2010

TOKYO - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said that India would seek Japan’s help for expansion of its nuclear energy potential, but would not force Tokyo on the issue as it recognises the sensitivity of the subject.

Dr. Manmohan Singh, who is in Tokyo on a three-day visit, said that with the India’s rapid economic growth, the demand for energy has been rising. Hence, Japan as a global leader in energy efficient technologies can play a significant role in helping India to meet its energy requirements.

“We would hope that Japan would be India’s partner in expanding our nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. But I do recognise the sensitivity of this subject in Japan, and I wouldn’t therefore force the issue”, Dr. Singh said at a business luncheon hosted by Nippon Keidanren, an economic organisation.

“Nuclear energy can provide our growing economy with a clean and efficient source of power. Cooperation in this area will enable Japanese companies to participate in India’s ambitious energy programme,” he added.

Dr. Singh further observed that Japan is the only country which had faced nuclear attacks, and is extremely skeptical and sensitive to do nuclear commerce with the countries.

Informed sources told ANI that India expects a long and slow negotiating process especially as India is not the signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty.

According to highly placed sources, Japan wants a firm commitment from India that it would not conduct on future nuclear tests.”

India is currently observing unilateral moratorium, but Japan is not convinced.

The two countries have already held two rounds of talks on civil nuclear cooperation and officials say that both countries have covered a lot of ground on the issue.

Nuclear cooperation with Japan is extremely crucial for India’s ambitious nuclear programme, as major nuclear power companies like White Westing House, General Electronics even Frence’s Areva use Japanese components in their Nuclear reactors technology.

Dr. Manmohan Singh also mentioned that in the next 20 years 40 percent of India’s population would be living in urban areas, so it would face problems of urban management.

“India’s investment needs and infrastructure in the next five years will be at least one trillion dollars, and part of investment will come from within but we expect Japanese investors to provide a substantial of the support for this infrastructure development plan,” said Dr. Singh.r. Singh said that the first priority to convert the nuclear agreement into a legally binding document and both the governments will work in the next few months to give it a proper legal shape and secure appropriate approvals both at the level of government and of their parliament if and when needed.

He also welcomed Japanese participation in Indian industry through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

“I am happy to note that Japanese Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India has grown substantially in the last three years. Much of this has been due to mergers and acquisitions. We welcome greater Japanese participation in Indian industry through Foreign Direct Investment. We seek the creation of new capacity in India’s manufacturing and infrastructure sectors,” said Dr. Singh.

He also noted that number of Japanese companies with established business presence in India has over doubled in the past four years.

The Prime Minister also said that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Japan is ready to be concluded.

“I have long believed that India and Japan must work together to create a business environment conducive to much greater two-way trade and investment flows. It was with this perspective that we launched negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement almost four years ago. I am happy to share with you that our efforts have finally succeeded and a mutually beneficial agreement is ready to be concluded,” said Dr. Singh.

The business luncheon was attended by Indian and Japanese business leaders, including Reliance supremo Mukesh Ambani and Sunil Bharti Mittal.

The Prime Minister is expected to hold bilateral talks with his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan.

He would also meet political leaders, parliamentarians and captains of Japanese trade and industry. By Naveen Kapoor(ANI)

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