Japan Eyes Halting Atomic Trade with India if Nuke Test Is Held

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 13, 2013, 7:02 a.m.

Ja­pan wants the right in a po­ten­tial bi­lat­er­al atom­ic-trade agree­ment with In­dia to ter­min­ate the ac­cord if New Del­hi car­ries out a new nuc­le­ar-weapons test, the In­di­an Ex­press re­por­ted on Fri­day.

After a three-year gap in nuc­le­ar-trade talks, the two na­tions earli­er this month re­launched ne­go­ti­ations for a co­oper­a­tion agree­ment that would en­able Ja­pan to ex­port atom­ic ma­ter­i­als and tech­no­logy to en­ergy-hungry In­dia.

Tokyo’s calls for the in­clu­sion of a pro­vi­sion that would “ter­min­ate” the deal should New Del­hi det­on­ate an­oth­er nuc­le­ar device go bey­ond the lan­guage of the 2008 U.S.-In­dia ci­vil­ian atom­ic co­oper­a­tion pact, an­onym­ous sources told the In­di­an news­pa­per. That ac­cord only stip­u­lates that fol­low­ing a pos­sible re­turn by New Del­hi to nuc­le­ar test­ing, In­dia and the United States hold talks for 12 months be­fore de­cid­ing wheth­er to an­nul the atom­ic deal.

Ja­pan also is leery of al­low­ing In­dia to re­pro­cess used nuc­le­ar ma­ter­i­al — a tech­nique that can be used to pro­duce new re­act­or ma­ter­i­al or to gen­er­ate fis­sile ma­ter­i­al for war­heads. France, Rus­sia and the United States in their own bi­lat­er­al atom­ic-trade deals with In­dia al­lowed New Del­hi to re­tain re­pro­cessing rights.

“There are sev­er­al out­stand­ing is­sues that we have,” Ja­pan­ese Min­is­ter of Eco­nomy, Trade and In­dustry Toshim­itsu Motegi said dur­ing a trip to In­dia this week. “We will have these is­sues dis­cussed in the work­ing groups so we can ac­cel­er­ate the ef­forts.”

In­di­an Plan­ning Com­mis­sion Deputy Chair­man Mon­tek Singh Ahluwalia, who met with Motegi, said this “is a very im­port­ant area of co­oper­a­tion but we are not fix­ing any dead­line.”

“We are mak­ing pro­gress and let’s see how it goes. It is very com­plex set of is­sues that we have to ad­dress,” Ahluwalia said.

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