TOKYO: With Japan playing hard ball in the negotiations on the civil nuclear deal, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh today said he would not “force” it on Tokyo as he recognises its sensitivity on the subject.
However, Dr 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 said.
Dr 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.
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, Dr 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.”
“India’s investment needs in infrastructure will be at least one trillion US dollars during the next Five Year Plan. Part of the investment will come from within but we expect Japanese investments to provide substantial support to this,” Dr Singh said at the luncheon hosted by Nippon Keidanren, while asking Japanese firms to go beyond mergers and acquisitions.
He said that during the last three years, India has received cumulative Foreign Direct Investment worth over USD 100 billion. “We have seen a slow down in the recent months but I see that as temporary,” the Prime Minister said.
Dr Singh said most of India’s investment is financed by domestic savings which has increased to 35 per cent of GDP. “I am confident that in the couple of years, it will rise to 40 per cent of GDP,” he said, but added that India’s domestic savings will have to be supplemented by foreign capital so that total domestic investment can be higher.