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PM arrives on four-day Japan visit
Ajay Kaul in Tokyo | December 13, 2006 18:38 IST
Reflecting the "increasing eastern orientation" of India's foreign policy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Tokyo Wednesday on a four-day official visit intended to enhance strategic ties with Japan which may give up its reservations about Indo-US civil nuclear deal.
Defence and security cooperation, short of any military alliance, will also high be on agenda of talks that Singh will have with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday. Singh is expected to seek Japan's support to India's aspirations for civil nuclear energy, particularly against the backdrop of recent passage of law in Washington on Indo-US civil nuclear deal.
"Whatever indications are there, Japan understands our needs for nuclear material and resources. We are fairly confident that Japan will not be unwilling to support us at the Nuclear Suppliers Group," National Security Advisor M K Narayanan told journalists accompanying the prime minister on his special aircraft.
Narayanan's observations come a few days after Japan said it favours India to be in the mainstream of nuclear non-proliferation. New Delhi has been lobbying among NSG members for support for the Indo-US civil nuclear deal. These efforts are expected to be stepped up after US President George W Bush signs the legislation to allow nuclear trade with India.
The 45-nation NSG is required to endorse by consensus the Indo-US civil nuclear deal and change guidelines to allow international community to have nuclear trade with India. Japan, a key member of the grouping, has had reservations to allowing nuclear cooperation with India as it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. During the visit the two countries are also expected to decide on some concrete steps for cooperation in the field of security.
One of the decisions expected is cooperation between the Coast Guards in anti-piracy efforts along the sea lanes. The two sides will also be looking at enhancing strategic partnership to global level and increased defence cooperation.
Narayanan said the Japanese Defence Agency is looking at enlarging its role and in this context India would like to see greater degree of understanding. Making it clear that India was not looking at alliance or groupings, he said short of that there are several areas like counter-terrorism in which the two countries would have shared understanding. These would be among the issues to be discussed between Singh and Abe.
Principal Secretary to Prime Minister T K A Nair said that the two sides would be discussing ways to step up economic engagements which the two prime ministers view as strategic objectives. Japan has expressed interest in participating in developing an industrial corridor between Delhi and Mumbai. A study had been commissioned to explore the feasibility of the corridor.