Sukla Sen

After the flop show that the Modi-Abe summit, on Sept. 1 in Tokyo, eventually turned out to be at least as regards clinching a much trumpeted nuclear deal between the two countries – widely considered as the very heart of the Modi’s mission Japan this time, the Economic Times reported as under.

The Japanese Prime Minister said there has been “important progress” in the negotiations over the deal in the past few months.

“We had frank discussions on the issue,” added Abe, whose country is very sensitive about the issue considering that it is the only country to have faced the wrath of a nuclear attack during the World War II.
Negotiations on the civil nuclear deal have been going on for over last four years but sources said a number of issues, including concerns over liability, remain to be addressed.

Abe commended India’s efforts in the field of non-proliferation including the affirmation that goods and technologies transferred from Japan would not be used for delivery systems for Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Modi appreciated the decision of Japan government to remove six of India’s space and defence-related entities from Japan’s Foreign End User List.

[Source.]

On the previous day, the Telegraph had analysed the prospects of the deal being clinched as under:

But persisting differences on the text of a nuclear deal India and Japan have been negotiating since 2010 mean Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are now unlikely to ink the agreement in Tokyo tomorrow, senior officials said.

Those differences are rooted in the compulsions of domestic politics in Japan, the only known victim of nuclear bombs, where India’s 1974 nuclear tests code-named “Operation Smiling Buddha” and the later tests in 1998 are still viewed as evidence New Delhi cannot be trusted.

But it is the nuclear agreement that Modi and his government were most keen to sign during the current visit. That, an official said, now appears “unlikely”.

Now, India and Japan will refer to the nuclear negotiations in the joint statement the two Prime Ministers will issue Monday evening. According to one official, they may ink a minor agreement reinforcing the commitment of both nations to eventually sign the nuclear pact.

But Japan is unwilling to give up on its demand that the text of the nuclear agreement mention specifically Tokyo’s right to pull out of the pact if New Delhi conducts fresh tests.

The condition itself is not a source of friction: both countries know Tokyo will have no other option, even if the text of the pact does not mention a Japanese exit clause.

Japan has so far only inked nuclear deals with nations that are signatory to the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). India has not accepted either.

For India, any specific reference in the text that points to a lack of trust in New Delhi’s stated commitment to non-proliferation — and its self-imposed moratorium on testing — is unacceptable.

A failure to wrap up the pact during Modi’s visit will not derail the agreement — diplomatic negotiations often take several years.

But the inability of the two nations to reach a consensus on the text of the pact will dent Modi’s stated objective of focusing on hard deliverables rather than mere symbolism of foreign visits (emphasis added).
[Source]

It has also been reported that Japan wants specific Indian commitment incorporated in the deal as regards no further nuclear tests in future, and also provisions for more intrusive inspection to ensure no (surreptitious) shifting of nuclear stuff to weapons making.

Neither is acceptable to India.

Talks on a deal have been stuck on Japan’s insistence on a clause that India won’t test again and will allow more intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities to ensure that spent fuel is not diverted to make bombs.

[Source]

The relevant portion of the Abe-Modi Joint Statement on Sept. 1 2014 issued from Tokyo is as under.

The two Prime Ministers affirmed the importance of civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries and welcomed the significant progress in negotiations on the Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. They directed their officials to further accelerate the negotiations with a view to concluding the Agreement at an early date, and strengthen the two countries’ partnership in non-proliferation and nuclear safety. (Emphasis added.)

Prime Minister Abe commended India’s efforts in the field of non-proliferation including the affirmation that goods and technologies transferred from Japan would not be used for delivery systems for WMD. Prime Minister Modi appreciated the decision of the Government of Japan to remove six of India’s space and defence-related entities from Japan’s Foreign End User List. They looked forward to enhanced trade and collaboration in high technology.

The two Prime Ministers affirmed their commitment to work together for India to become a full member in the four international export control regimes: Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group, with the aim of strengthening the international non-proliferation efforts.

[Source]

Let’s compare this with the excerpt, pertaining to the purported nuclear deal, from the last joint declaration of the then Prime Ministers, Abe and Singh, on Jan. 25 last from Delhi is reproduced below.

32. The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries, while recognizing that nuclear safety is a priority for both Governments. They welcomed the substantial progress made since their last meeting in negotiations between India and Japan on an Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy and directed their officials to exert further efforts towards an early conclusion of the Agreement (Emphasis added).

33. The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their shared commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Abe stressed the importance of bringing into force the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) at an early date. Prime Minister Singh reiterated India’s commitment to its unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing. They also reaffirmed their commitment to working together for immediate commencement and an early conclusion of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). They also supported the strengthening of international cooperation to address the challenges of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. They recognized the importance of an effective national export control system conforming to the highest international standards. Prime Minister Abe recognized India’s sound non-proliferation record. Both sides expressed their commitment to work together for India to become a full member in the international export control regimes: the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement, with the aim of strengthening the international non-proliferation efforts.
[Source]

The similarities are too striking.

The failure, in both the cases, is papered over in customary diplomatese.

The progress since the last time, in this particular regard, if any at all made, is just too cosmetic.

The deal with Japan, by the way, is considered crucial also in the context of projected deals with the US-based companies – GE-Hitachi and Westinghoue, and the French Areva. All of them are reportedly banking on supply of nuclear reactor shells from Japan.

It goes without saying that it’s mighty good for India – the Indian people. And, it bears repetition that the credit for blocking the deal almost exclusively goes to the Japanese people – their strong and vocal anti-nuclear stand.

The last time, in January, Abe’s wife herself had gone public opposing the deal.

So, the final message emanating from the great fiasco, obviously, is: No More Hiroshima! No More Fukushima!
Long Live the Solidarity between the Japanese and Indian People!

 

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