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|September 12, 1998||
Japan's envoy keen on resumption of economic aid to India
Japan is looking forward to ''early resumption'' of talks with India to sort out the sanctions issue, Japanese ambassador to India Hiroshi Hirabayashi said in New Delhi yesterday.
He said Japan was keenly watching the progress of India-United States dialogue aimed at Indian endorsement of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Hirabayashi said Japan and India should talk and remove the ''misunderstandings'' for resumption of economic aid and putting bilateral relations on a stronger footing. He did not want to link bilateral relations to the progress of the ongoing India-United States dialogue.
''Without any positive steps by the government of India, we cannot move ahead,'' he said.
The Japanese ambassador said his country appreciated and accepted the security concerns of India. But India too had to ''satisfy'' the international community on these issues, he added.
Hirabayashi said Tokyo's freezing of developmental assistance to India in the wake of New Delhi's nuclear tests in May was not in any way intended to ''penalise'' the people of India. ''We took this measure very reluctantly,'' he added.
He pointed out that the official Japanese development assistance to foreign countries was governed by strict conditionalities like the recipient country's mass destruction weapon programmes, human rights record and commitment to democracy. It was stopped to China in the wake of the Tiananmen Square incident, he pointed out.
He expressed the hope that the bilateral talks at the level of the foreign secretaries would begin soon after President K R Narayanan and Foreign Secretary K V Raghunath returned from their current foreign tour.
The Japanese envoy pointed out that Prime Minister A B Vajpayee's special envoy Jaswant Singh had already established good rapport with both the Japanese prime minister and foreign minister during the Asian Regional Forum meet in Manila in July.
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