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[op-ed snap] India’s Act East Policy

  1. Takeaways from Japan visit: Supporting India’s membership in NSG, rationalising Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train timeline,easing of Indian student visas,
  2. Training of 30,000 Indians in Japanese-style manufacturing practices, and merging of India’s “Act East Policy” with Japan’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy”
  3. Japan has, for the first time signed nuclear agreement with a non-NPT signatory
  4. Japanese sought: free and open investment climate, relaxation of land acquisition policies
  5. Reiterated their commitment to respect freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce, based on the UNCLOS
  6. Bilateral defence ties get a boost with New Delhi’s decision to buy 12 US-2i amphibious aircrafts
  7. Tokyo is stepping up infrastructure investment in India with two sides taking forward Japanese investment in India’s development of Chabahar port in Iran
  8. US-India-Japan trilateral engagement: convergence of India’s Act East policy, Japan’s growing focus on freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and the Obama strategic rebalance towards Indo-Pacific
  9. Trilateral configurations also emerging with Japan, Australia and India interacting at a regional level

[op-ed snap] Indian PM has signed the nuclear cooperation agreement in Tokyo

  1. Advantages: for India’s renewable energy plans
  2. Japanese companies that produce reactor technology were previously not allowed to supply parts to India
  3. Japanese companies have significant holdings in their U.S. and French partners will negotiate for nuclear reactors now
  4. Japan’s first nuclear deal with a non-signatory to the NPT and it recognises India’s exemplary record in nuclear prudence
  5. Will boost the dipping bilateral trade and lift the strategic military and defence relationship
  6. Riders: Nuclear deal has to be approved by Japan’s Parliament
  7. An emergency suspension of the deal if India tests a weapon
  8. Abe must ensure that the commercial agreement for Westinghouse’s six reactors in Andhra Pradesh that is due in June 2017 comes through
  9. China has been hedging against deeper Japan-India ties by investing in its relationship with Russia and Pakistan

Deal or no deal? India, Japan wrangle over N-pact note I

  1. Indian and Japanese officials continued to wrangle over the legality of a document signed as part of the recent nuclear deal
  2. The document indicates a link between nuclear testing and the cancellation of the deal
  3. Indian view: Government sources say the document is “not legally binding”
  4. Japanese view: The document had been signed by the nuclear negotiators in the presence of PM’s Shinzo Abe and Narendra Modi, and hence “legally binding.”
  5. The note in question contains contentious clauses that effectively allow Japan to invoke an “emergency” suspension of supplies if India were to test a nuclear weapon
  6. It could also contest any compensation claims from India in court

Japan has option to scrap N-deal

  1. Event: India on Friday signed a historic civilian nuclear deal with Japan during the annual bilateral summit held in Tokyo
  2. The nuclear deal which will help India access Japan’s nuclear market, had been under negotiation for 6 years
  3. India is the first non-member of the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) to have signed such a deal with Japan
  4. The deal is significant as it will help guarantee Japan’s continued support to India’s civil nuclear programme
  5. Both sides also signed nine agreements including one on cooperation between ISRO and JAXA in outer space

India-Japan nuclear deal: Will India accept a nullification clause? II

  1. India maintains a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing
  2. But it has thus far refused to sign on to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
  3. It has also not given any other undertaking outside of its commitments at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  4. But, Japan, the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack has special sensitivities
  5. India may need to make an exception for Japan, despite India’s insistence on nuclear sovereignty
  6. Another factor is Japan’s critical position in nuclear supplies to India
  7. Although India has a guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel, all planned reactors including those from France and the U.S. and other than existing Russian reactors depend largely on Japanese parts

India-Japan nuclear deal: Will India accept a nullification clause? I

  1. Event: PM Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe prepare to discuss the conclusion of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement
  2. Issue: Whether India will accept a “nullification” or “termination” clause
  3. The deal, which will open up access for India to cutting edge nuclear energy technology, reactors and critical parts, has been held up for years over the clause
  4. The clause stipulates that the deal would be cancelled if India were to conduct a nuclear test

[op-ed snap] Clinching the N-deal with Japan

  1. Theme: Upcoming civil nuclear agreement with Japan.
  2. Significance of the upcoming agreement: Japan is the only country to have been the victim of a nuclear attack, and its decision to sign an agreement with India, a country that has not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), would be a first.
  3. Significance for India: Given the strong domestic reservations in Japan against nuclear energy, Tokyo’s support to the deal so far is an indication of the importance it accords to relations with India.
  4. It would convey a message of trust to the Nuclear Suppliers Group members and hopefully help in acceptance of India’s membership.
  5. Japanese nuclear energy technology and safety parameters are widely considered to be cutting-edge, and many critical parts needed for Indian reactors are made by Japanese manufacturers. These will not be available to India until the agreement is done.
  6. Even the U.S. civil nuclear deal, that is yet to be actualised, is contingent on the deal with Japan.
  7. Post-Fukushima, Japanese manufacturers can be expected to be more generous with India on the liability issue, given their own experience with the enormous cost of cleaning up.
  8. Sticking points in the past: India’s refusal to sign the NPT, as it considers the treaty unfair to the developing world.
  9. The Japanese insistence on a “nullification” clause that the agreement would cease as soon as India tests.

N-deal with Japan ‘ready’ to be sealed

  1. When? Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan later this year
  2. Background: The India-Japan nuclear agreement has been under discussion since 2008
  3. Abe (2015 India visit): Need to complete necessary internal procedures- clearing the deal in the Japanese parliament (Diet)
  4. For the past few years, this has been difficult given deep sensitivities in Japan on nuclear proliferation, and political instability in parliament
  5. However, Diet is now expected to clear the agreement within time, before PM Modi’s Japan visit
  6. This indicates a breakthrough on several contentious issues including a controversial nullification clause

India and Japan- farm products and service professionals- 2

  1. Services: India, with a large resource pool of professional nurses, is keen to expedite the signing of a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA)
  2. MRA to be signed between the Indian Nursing Council and its Japanese counterpart to ensure that Japan accepts Indian qualified nurses and certified care-workers
  3. As per the CEPA, it was decided that Japan will conclude negotiations with India in this regard by 2013-end, but there has been a delay
  4. Japan is learnt to be reluctant to allow Indian nurses

India and Japan- farm products and service professionals- 1

  1. News: India will seek greater market access in the Japanese market for its farm products such as sesame seeds as well as for its services professionals including nurses
  2. Upcoming meeting is that of India-Japan Joint Committee- a panel set up following the signing of the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2011
  3. Proposal: India will be pushing a proposal asking Japan to bring its big general trading companies to India for bulk purchase of sesame seeds (locally known as till)
  4. Context: Following the detection of pesticides and insecticides (DDT, malathion) in some sesame seeds consignments from India over two decades ago, Japan has been reluctant to import seasame from India
  5. Japan is the world’s second largest importer of sesame and India is the world’s largest sesame seed producer and also the world’s largest exporter
  6. Use: Sesame seeds are used in Japanese cuisine whereas the oil and its by-products are used in a wide range of applications including cooking, soaps, perfumes, pharmaceuticals and poultry feed

India collaborates with Japan on Andamans project

  1. News: India and Japan are in talks to collaborate on upgrading civilian infrastructure in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, an Indian archipelago
  2. Context: This move seen as a critical asset to counter China’s efforts to expand its maritime reach into the Indian Ocean
  3. First project: a 15-megawatt diesel power plant on South Andaman Island
  4. Significance: Andaman and Nicobar Islands are northwest of Strait of Malacca, offering control of a so-called choke point that is one of China’s greatest marine vulnerabilities
  5. Testimony to: Unfolding relationship between India and Japan, which also funding a $744 million road building project in Northeastern(N-E) border regions of Mizoram, Assam and Meghalaya
  6. Relevance: Japan’s marshalling of official development assistance in the region has drawn less attention than the effort that China calls OBOR
  7. Bid to counter China’s efforts to expand its maritime reach into the Indian Ocean

India and Japan ink 3 agreements for cooperation in Railway Sector

  1. One MoU is on cooperation and assistance in the Mumbai – Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project.
  2. Japan has offered an assistance of over Rs.79,000 crore for the project.
  3. The project is a 508 km railway line costing a total of Rs. 97,636 crore, to be implemented in a period of 7 years.
  4. It has been agreed that Shinkansen Technology will be adopted for the project.
  5. Two more comprehensive technological cooperation agreements signed for modernization and upgradation of Indian Railways.
PIB

India, Japan sign protocol to amend tax pact

  1. India and Japan signed an agreement to amend the convention for double taxation avoidance and prevention of evasion of income tax.
  2. The pact provides for internationally-accepted standards for effective exchange of information on tax matters, including bank information.
  3. The information received from Japan in respect of an Indian resident can be shared with other law enforcement agencies with authorisation of the competent authority of Japan and vice versa.
  4. It is envisaged that both India and Japan will lend assistance to each other on collection of revenue claims.


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