Despite the bonhomie between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese premier Shinzo Abe, India and Japan failed to break new grounds in ongoing talks on a nuclear deal between the two countries.
The two sides today signed a statement of intent to continue talks on the nuclear deal, officials said after summit talks between the two leaders in Tokyo yesterday.
The Japanese PM said there had been, “important progress on nuclear cooperation in the last few months. I was able to have frank discussions with PM Modi on this issue and deepen understanding on both sides.”
Talks on a deal have been stuck on Japan’s insistence on a clause that India won’t test again and will allow more intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities to ensure that spent fuel is not diverted to make bombs.
Sources say the Modi government had hoped to lure investment into its $85 billion market while addressing Japan’s concerns.
India has been pushing for an agreement with Japan on the lines of a 2008 deal with the United States under which India was allowed to import US nuclear fuel and technology without giving up its military nuclear programme.
India, which sees its weapons as a deterrent against nuclear-armed neighbours China and Pakistan, has sought to meet Japan’s concerns and over the past month the two sides have speeded up negotiations ahead of PM Modi’s visit.
A civil nuclear energy pact with India would give Japanese nuclear technology firms such as Toshiba Corp and Hitachi Ltd access to India’s fast-growing market as they seek opportunities overseas to offset an anti-nuclear backlash at home in response to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
India operates 20 mostly small reactors at six sites with a capacity of 4,780 MW, or 2 percent of its total power capacity, according to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited. The government hopes to increase its nuclear capacity to 63,000 MW by 2032 by adding nearly 30 reactors.