India, Japan to expedite negotiation on civil nuclear pact

Prime Ministers of India and Japan have inked a joint statement directing officials of their countries to speed up the negotiations of an Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.  The statement didn’t fix any timeline and will take at least two years for its implementation. Talks on energy cooperation had virtually stopped after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe late in 2011.
 What is special with the signed statement?
The most favorable point for India is that the statement mentions no reference to New Delhi signing the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a precondition for Tokyo to consider civil nuclear cooperation. India has reiterated its commitment to unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing.
Other commitments:

  • To work together for immediate commencement and an early conclusion of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally effectively verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
  • To collaborate to prepare the ground for India to become a full member in the International Export Control Regimes.
  • To work to further consolidate and strengthen the Strategic and Global Partnership, keeping in mind changes in the strategic environment.
  • To establish a Joint Working Group (JWG) to explore modalities for the cooperation on the U.S.-2 amphibious aircraft.

What are International Export Control Regimes and why India wants to become its member?
There are four key International Export Control Regimes (IECR):

  1. The Wassenaar Arrangement: Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
  2. The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG): A group of countries that controls nuclear related technology andglobal nuclear commerce.
  3. The Australia Group (AG) : Informal forum of countries that aims to harmonize export controls to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons.
  4. The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR): Informal and voluntary association of countries that share the goals of non-proliferation of unmanned delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction.

India has been striving to gain membership of the IECR. Membership of these groups will allow the country entry into the mainstream of decision making rather than being kept on the margins of international rule making on such issues as export controls and non-proliferation.



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