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2013年5月31日 (金)

日印首脳会談 関係発展の柱となる原発協力

The Yomiuri Shimbun May 31, 2013
Striking N-cooperation pact is key to boosting bilateral ties with India
日印首脳会談 関係発展の柱となる原発協力(5月30日付・読売社説)

Japan and India have reached an agreement that could become the key to deepening their bilateral relationship.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh agreed to resume negotiations on a nuclear cooperation pact during their summit talks in Tokyo on Wednesday.

The two countries aim to conclude the negotiations within the year. If they reach a deal, Japan will be able to export its nuclear-related technology to India.

The negotiations initially began in June 2010, when the Democratic Party of Japan held the reins of government. However, the talks were effectively suspended in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

With a population of 1.2 billion people, India has been plagued by power shortages following its rapid economic growth. The country thus intends to build more nuclear power plants.

If more nuclear power facilities, which do not emit greenhouse gases, are built in countries that rely on coal-fired plants for electricity supply, such as India, that could also help counter global warming.

The Abe administration’s economic policy, dubbed “Abenomics,” focuses on exporting Japanese infrastructure systems under its growth strategy. An increase in exports of nuclear technology and related equipment will significantly benefit Japan as well.

Concerns over India’s N-stance

During their meeting, Abe praised Singh’s commitment to nuclear nonproliferation. However, he also called for India’s early ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, in line with Japan’s global advocacy of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

Abe apparently made the remarks in consideration of persistent domestic concerns over striking a nuclear cooperation pact with India, which has yet to sign the NPT despite owning nuclear arms.

India has halted nuclear testing and allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect its civilian nuclear facilities. Ahead of restarting bilateral nuclear talks, Japan should confirm that India will maintain such a stance.

Meanwhile, the two leaders also made progress in strengthening bilateral ties by agreeing to conduct a joint feasibility study on a plan to build an about 500-kilometer high-speed railway system between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in western India. Hopes are high that the agreement will boost joint efforts by the domestic public and private sectors to expand exports of the nation’s Shinkansen bullet train system.

Japan also decided to extend yen loans for projects such as construction of a subway system in Mumbai. It is highly significant that the two countries agreed to strengthen bilateral ties, particularly in regard to large infrastructure development, which would help India achieve economic growth.

Japanese companies have increasingly made inroads into India. Although Japan’s trade with India remains small when compared to that with China, there is potential for further expansion.

Security cooperation eyes China

On security cooperation, the two countries agreed to consider exporting the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s amphibious rescue boats to India. If realized, this could become a specific case of bilateral security cooperation in which Japan’s defense equipment is exported for civilian use.

Meanwhile, the MSDF and the Indian Navy will conduct joint exercises on a regular basis. Their first joint drill was conducted in June last year. Such regular military exercises could be effective as a deterrent to China. Security cooperation between Japan and India must be conducive to stability in Asia, particularly in the Indian Ocean.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 30, 2013)
(2013年5月30日02時08分  読売新聞)


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