Daily Current Affairs – 14th November, 2016DEVENDRA VISHWAKARMA
India Japan – Civil Nuclear Deal
- India has signed a historic civil nuclear deal with Japan during the annual bilateral summit held in Tokyo.
- The negotiations have been underway for six years but were strengthened during the 2015 visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India when the principles of the agreement were decided upon.
- Earlier, the negotiations were stuck because of political resistance in Japan after the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
- India is the first non-member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to have signed such a deal with Japan.
- Japan has earlier had issues regarding liability of Japanese companies for nuclear accidents, reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and future testing of nuclear weapons by India
- India has declared a moratorium on nuclear testing since 1998. However, due to concerns about other emerging and neighbouring nations being equipped with nuclear arms, it has not signed the NPT, contending that it is discriminatory.
India’s Nuclear Deals
The list of countries with which India has already signed a bilateral civil nuclear deal are Canada, USA, Argentina, United Kingdom, France, Namibia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, South Korea and Australia.
Importance for India
- The deal will allow Japan to supply nuclear reactors, fuel and technology to India which was earlier prohibited.
- It is important for India’s renewable energy plans especially considering the target of 175 gigawatts (GW) of energy generation by 2022 and the target of nuclear capacity of 63GW by 2032.
- Since this is the first time that Japan has signed a nuclear deal with a non-member of NPT, it adds credibility to the India’s prudent behaviour with respect to use of nuclear technology.
- It is indeed a much-needed moral boost for India’s aspirations of getting membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
- The signing of the deal will boost the low volume and dipping bilateral trade.
- It will also give an impetus to the strategic military and defence relationship.
- The deal can be instrumental in countering China’s growing regional influence and in dealing with the uncertainty of US foreign policy after the US election outcome.
- From a Japanese point of view, negotiations with US-based Westinghouse Electric are in advanced stages and they have agreed to build six nuclear reactors in India. Japanese companies, such as Toshiba, have significant holdings in Westinghouse and other U.S. and French partners negotiating for nuclear reactors now. Signing of this deal makes it easier for such deals to materialise.
Key Points of the Deal
Picture Credit: http://im.rediff.com/news/2016/nov/11deal.jpg
There are still certain hurdles which have to be overcome to ensure that both nations can bear maximum fruits from this deal.
- The nuclear deal has to be approved by Japan’s Parliament. The parliament will have its own concerns in the light of India’s reference to re-thinking of the no-first-use policy.
- Critics in Japan may feel that enough assurances have not been obtained from India on a nuclear test ban.
- India may be criticised for giving in too much because as per the agreement it allows Japan a chance suspend the deal in case India tests a nuclear weapon. Also, Japan has the option to notify India of the termination of the pact with one year’s notice.
- There is also ambiguity with respect to the ‘nullification clause’ according to which if India conducts a nuclear test, Japan shall stop its cooperation and cancel the agreement. There is ambiguity whether the clause is legally binding or not. India claims it to be not legally binding whereas Japan considers it otherwise.
It is important that the agreement goes forward in a smooth manner. With the changing geopolitics around the world this emerging partnership holds a lot of importance.