Insights Daily Current Events, January 21, 2014

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January 21, 2014


India- Japan Relationship

Civilian nuclear cooperation agreement between India and Japan and controversial issues

India plans to build about 20 nuclear power plants to increase the share of nuclear power in supply from the current 4% to 25% by 2050. To meet its energy needs, India would like to partner Japan on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Following the Us-Indo Civil nuclear agreement, 2008, India and Japan has also started talks on the same line.

The talks have been stalled since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima on 2011. As the only nation to have faced the fury of nuclear weapons, Japan remains sensitive about concluding a nuclear pact with a nation that is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)  and as such wants additional guarantees from New Delhi.

But, the discriminatory nature of NPT has refrained India from signing the treaty. As far as CTBT is concerned, India has unilaterally declared a moratorium on testing, but wants the world to move categorically towards nuclear disarmament in a credible time- bound manner. FMCT (Fissile Material Cut off Treaty), which aims to stop further production of fissile material for weapons purposes, India’s stand is that it will accept anything which is universal, non-discriminatory, and effectively verifiable in nature.

Civilian nuclear cooperation agreement between India and Japan is vital also because all the US and French firms, which have bagged contracts to build nuclear plants in India are either partly or, wholly owned by Japanese companies. As Japanese firms have very advanced capabilities in the nuclear field and play a very important role in the global supply chain, it will not be possible for these companies to use Japanese technology, because of Japan’s ban on the transfer of military and arms related technology since 1976. For example, French firm Areva depends upon Japan Steel Works, the world’s main forger, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, for the manufacturing of equipments that are installed in Areva’s nuclear power plants.

India, on the other hand, argues that it has already given a number of assurances in its civil nuclear pacts with other nations, which should work for Japan as well.

( The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral treaty by which states agree to ban all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes.)

Reference: Contents are taken from relevant articles of The Hindu and IDSA website.