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N-deal: PM seeks Japan's support; Abe guarded
August 23, 2007 00:11 IST
In a clear indication that the Centre intended to go ahead with the India-United States civil nuclear deal in spite of the Left Front's warnings, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Wednesday sought Japan's [Images] support for the nuclear initiative.
However, Japan, a key Nuclear Suppliers Group member, remained non-committal, saying it will first watch how its concerns are addressed in the safeguards agreement.
India will have to negotiate a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Dr Singh, and then request the NSG to relax its restrictions on the transfer of nuclear technology and fuel.
"It is my sincere hope that when the matter comes up at NSG, we will have Japan's support," Dr Singh said.
But Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [Images] remained non-committal about extending support, but conceded that Japan would discuss the issue in a thorough manner.
"Japan is certainly aware of India's strategic importance. We also understand India's necessity to respond to an increasing demand for energy, including nuclear energy," Abe said.
But the Japanese prime minister was quick to add, "Japan is the only victim of a nuclear attack. We are watching very closely the likely impact of the deal on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and the international nuclear regime."
Abe added that the India-IAEA safeguards agreement should respond to the concerns of Japan and the international community.