EDITORIAL NOTES

Japan should build on ties with India: The Japan News

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe leave a Shinkansen bullet train during a visit to a Kawasaki Heavy Industries plant in Kobe, Japan.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe leave a Shinkansen bullet train during a visit to a Kawasaki Heavy Industries plant in Kobe, Japan.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

In its editorial, the paper encourages Tokyo to foster greater strategic ties with New Delhi via the nuclear power deal

It is hoped that strategic relations between Japan and India will be further deepened through bilateral cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear power.

During talks in Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to promote cooperation related to nuclear power generation. The governments signed a nuclear power agreement that will serve as a basis for that aim.

Referring to the fact that India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, Abe emphasised that both nations share the goal of achieving a world without nuclear weapons. Modi responded by saying that his country has maintained a voluntary freeze on nuclear tests.

The conclusion of the accord will make it possible for Japan to provide parts related to the nuclear power plants in India built by such nations as the United States and France, as well as to export Japanese-made nuclear power facilities.

In 1998, India conducted a nuclear test, the second of its kind, after which it announced a moratorium on such testing.

The latest agreement and related document have clarified that Japan can suspend cooperation if India carries out a nuclear test.

It also clearly states that India will accept inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

It is important to effectively incorporate India into the international non-proliferation regime, thereby placing a strong check on its military use of nuclear power technology.

It was natural that Abe during the meeting urged Modi that India to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, in addition to continuing the moratorium.

Persistent efforts must also be made to urge the country to take action on nuclear disarmament.

A pillar of the Abe administration's growth strategy is to export infrastructure, including nuclear power plants.

There are great expectations among Japanese nuclear power facility manufacturers for the realisation of such exports.

India's electricity supply has been unable to keep up with the country's rapid economic growth, leading to frequent power outages.

As the world's third-largest emitter, another challenge facing the country is its reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

The nation intends to raise the share of its nuclear power generation vis-a-vis its total electricity output from the current 3 per cent to 25 per cent by building about 80 new nuclear power reactors.

Putting Japan's advanced nuclear technology to good use will benefit both our country and India.

In the talks, it was confirmed that construction work on a high-speed railway in western India, which will introduce Japan's Shinkansen bullet train, will begin in 2018.

Efforts will be made to attain the goal of starting services in 2023.

Abe asked Modi to adopt Shinkansen trains for all seven high-speed railway routes planned by India.

If Abe's request is met, it would lead to the production of train cars in India, as desired by India.

The move would also give a push to Japan's Shinkansen export drive targeting the United States and South-east Asia.

The day after their meeting, the two leaders rode a Shinkansen train together from Tokyo to Kobe and exchanged opinions for close to three hours.

It is necessary for the top leaders to build a firm relationship of trust to help secure regional stability.

The problem facing both nations for the time being is China, which has continued maritime advancement not only in the East and South China Seas, but the Indian Ocean as well.

Japan and India should also facilitate multi-tiered cooperation with the United States and Australia, thereby pressing China to abide by international law and restrain its self justified activities.

* The Japan News is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 21 media.