India, Japan reach agreement on nuclear cooperation

14 December 2015

After many years of negotiations, India and Japan have signed a memorandum on cooperating in nuclear energy. However, certain technical and legal issues must be resolved before a final agreement can be signed.

India-Japan December 2015 - 460 (Indian PMs Office)
The signing of the memorandum (Image: Indian Prime Minister's Office)

The memorandum - outlining broad areas for cooperation - was signed on 12 December in Delhi by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

Negotiations between the two countries for a civil nuclear deal began in 2010. However, those talks were suspended after the March 2011 accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant. During a May 2013 meeting by Abe and India's then-prime minister Manmohan Singh, the two leaders said that negotiations had resumed.

Speaking at a press conference after the signing, Modi said: "The memorandum we signed on civil nuclear energy cooperation is more than just an agreement for commerce and clean energy." He said, "It is a shining symbol of a new level of mutual confidence and strategic partnership in the cause of a peaceful and secure world."

Modi added, "I know the significance of this decision for Japan. And I assure you that India deeply respects that decision and will honour our shared commitments."

In a statement, Abe noted that the final agreement on cooperation "will be signed after the technical details are finalised, including those related to the necessary internal procedures".

The signing of such an accord would enable India to import Japanese nuclear technology and services.

The two prime ministers also affirmed their commitment to work toward India becoming a full member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

India was largely excluded from international trade in nuclear plant and materials for over three decades because of its position outside the comprehensive safeguards regime of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Special agreements ended its isolation in 2009 and the country may now engage in nuclear trade with those countries with which it has since signed cooperation agreements: Australia, Canada, France, Kazakhstan, Russia, the UK and the USA. Foreign technology and fuel are expected to boost India's nuclear power plans considerably.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News