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Japan may back India at NSG

Source: PTI
August 05, 2008 00:29 IST
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India could expect the support of Japan at the upcoming Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting, with a senior official of the country saying that Tokyo understands New Delhi's energy needs and would adopt an approach that strengthens the non-proliferation regime.

Giving enough hints about his country's expected position at the August 21-22 meeting of NSG in Vienna, Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kazuo Kodama noted that Tokyo had gone with consensus at the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors meeting on India-specific safeguards despite having reservations on
non-proliferation issues.

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Kodama told reporters that Japan understands India's needs for energy and aspiration for nuclear power in view of growing economy and would 'actively participate' in the NSG deliberations when the grouping considers a waiver for India.

The Japanese position would be such, which would strengthen, rather than hamper, the universal non-proliferation system.

The statement is significant as the US, Russia, Britain, France and several other countries have been maintaining that giving a waiver to India would strengthen the non-proliferation regime by bringing New Delhi within the system.

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Japan's support to India's case is vital as the NSG operates by consensus and opposition by any of the 45 member countries will abort New Delhi's plans to have civilian nuclear cooperation with the international community.

Japan, the only country to have suffered nuclear weapon attacks, has strong views on non-proliferation but it has conveyed to the Indian government earlier that it would not create hurdles.

Kodama's comments came on the eve of talks between External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his Japanese counterpart Masshiko Koumura in New Delhi, when the nuclear issue is expected to come up.

At the talks as part of security dialogue, Japan is likely to make an announcement on a fresh chunk of Overseas Development Assistance for India.

Kodama said Japan was keen to strengthen the strategic relationship with India.

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