With Japan playing hard ball in the negotiations on the civil nuclear deal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said he would not "force" it on Tokyo as he recognises its sensitivity on the subject.
However, Singh, who is here on a two-day visit, said he would like Japanese firms to participate in expansion of India's nuclear industry.
"We would hope that Japan will be India's partner in expansion of its civil nuclear industry for peaceful purposes. But I do recognise the sensitivity of the subject in Japan and will not therefore force the issue," he told a business luncheon meeting here.
Singh made the comments while responding to a question about the next steps after the completion of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the two countries.
His comments come in the backdrop of Japan insisting that the proposed agreement on a civil nuclear deal should have a provision under which the cooperation would be called off if India were to test a nuclear weapon.
The two countries have already held two rounds of negotiations on the proposed agreement and the Indian side has indicated that this condition could be accommodated through proper wording in the pact. (Read: A Japanese twist to the nuclear deal)
Japan is the only country to have faced a nuclear attack and is immensely sensitive to the issue, particularly considering that India is not an NPT signatory.
Observing that with India's rapid economic growth, the demand for energy has been rising rapidly, Singh told the business leaders that cooperation between the two countries in this area will "enable Japanese companies to participate in India's ambitious nuclear energy programme."
The Prime Minister said Japan, as a global leader in energy efficient
technologies, can play a significant role in helping India meet its
energy needs in an environment-friendly manner.
"We seek Japanese technology and investment in conventional as well as
new and renewable energy," he said atthe business luncheon hosted by
After the Nuclear Suppliers Group gave a one-time waiver to India to
conduct trade in peaceful atomic field in 2008, India has already
signed civil nuclear agreements with eight countries -- the US, France,
Russia, Canada, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Namibia and Mongolia.
Japan was among the countries which supported the waiver for India despite having reservations over India not joining NPT.
Japanese companies are keen to participate in India's expanding nuclear
industry which is expected to be worth several billion dollars in the
next few years.
Ahead of his visit here, the Prime Minister said Indiaoffers huge
opportunities in the nuclear sector and Japanesecompanies should become
"partners," given their advanced capabilities in this area.
Singh said the proposed pact would be a win-win proposition for both
the countries besides helping in the global efforts to combat climate
"Developing countries like India seek new energy sources to sustain
high rates of economic growth. We see nuclear energy as a vital
component of our global energy mix," Singh told some Japanese
journalists in Delhi ahead of his visit.
He said India was aware of the advanced capabilities of Japanese firms
in the nuclear field and the important role they play in the global
Referring to the proposed nuclear agreement with Japan, he expressed
confidence that it would be completed but made it clear that there are
no deadlines for concluding these negotiations.
When pointed out that Japan was putting the condition that it will
annul the nuclear cooperation if India goes for a nuclear test and
whether it was agreeable to India, Singh refused to comment on specific
details as the negotiations are still underway.
He, however, said both countries would benefit from an agreement that
provides a long-term and stable basis of cooperation in the peaceful
uses of nuclear energy.
This, he said, will contribute towards India's energy security
requirements and will also help in the global efforts to combat climate