NEW DELHI, March 22 – India’s External Affairs Minister Shri Salman Khurshid suggested on Thursday that there will be no immediate progress in negotiations on a nuclear cooperation pact between Japan and India, Japan’s Jiji Press reported.
In an interview with Japanese reporters ahead of his visit to Japan from Tuesday, Khurshid said India will not urge Tokyo to accelerate the talks as Japan is preoccupied with work to reconstruct areas ravaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
India is ready to give Japan time to cope with its problems and then will promote the negotiations, he said. The two countries began the negotiations in 2010 to pave the way for Japan’s exports of nuclear power plant equipment to India.
But the talks have stalled due to a difference of opinions between the two countries and the spread of antinuclear movements around the globe following the world’s second-worst nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant in northeastern Japan, which was knocked out by the March 2011 disaster.
India has repeatedly shown its hopes to introduce Japanese nuclear technologies, and Khurshid’s remarks were a rare expression of a negative view about the restart of the talks. During Khurshid’s upcoming visit to Japan, the two countries will also discuss India’s possible introduction of Japan’s Shinkansen bullet train technology for its planned high-speed railway project.