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Manmohan Singh arrives in Japan on 3-day visit

Last updated on: May 27, 2013 19:24 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Tokyo on Monday on a three-day visit to Japan to invigorate bilateral strategic ties and push for a civil nuclear energy cooperation deal.

Dr Singh will hold exhaustive talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Wednesday on the entire gamut of bilateral ties with special focus on giving boost to cooperation in defence, economic, energy and other areas.

Dr Singh, accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, arrived in Tokyo, his first halt in a two-nation tour that will also take him to Thailand. Official sources in the Indian side dismissed reports of India going slow on ties with Japan so as not to annoy China.

"There are sensitivities in the Japanese side particularly after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and we respect that," official sources said.

"When Japan is keen to see that whatever it does is in the direction of strengthening non-proliferation regime, India's own view is that civilian nuclear energy cooperation with Japan will only further strengthen non-proliferation regime. India is quite happy to proceed at the pace determined by the Japanese side," the sources said while reacting to reports that there are issues in Japan on a bilateral nuclear deal with India.

Dr Singh's visit, originally scheduled for November last year, was postponed following the announcement of general elections in Japan in December.

In his departure statement in New Delhi, Dr Singh said he proposed to invigorate India's relations with Japan in the political, security and energy spheres.

Dr Singh said in his summit with the new government of Japan led by "good friend" Abe, he will build on the momentum imparted by successive summits to the India-Japan strategic and global partnership.

"My visits to Japan and Thailand will add depth and new meaning to our 'Look East' policy and contribute to peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific," he said while describing Japan as a "key regional and global partner for India".

Dr Singh will also travel to Thailand on a two-day visit from May 30.

V Mohan Narayan in Tokyo