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A First: Japan Signs Civilian Nuclear Accord With India

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SAN FRANCISCO, November 11, (THEWILL) – Japan and India have signed a civilian nuclear accord which allows Tokyo to supply New Delhi with fuel, equipment and technology for nuclear power production.

The accord was signed on Friday after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's meeting with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi as India seeks atomic energy to sustain its rapid economic growth.

The pact is the first time Japan, the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack, concluded such an agreement with a country that is not signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The accord stipulates that nuclear fuel and equipment provided can only be used for peaceful purposes with a clause allowing Japan to terminate the pact if India conducts a nuclear test.

Speaking during the event, Modi praised the “growing convergence” of views between his nation and Japan, saying strong ties will enable them to play a role in Asia and the world.

India says the NPT is discriminatory and it has concerns about nuclear-armed China as well as its long-time nuclear-armed rival, Pakistan.

India is in advanced negotiations with U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric, owned by Japan's Toshiba Corp, to build six nuclear reactors in southern India to ramp up its nuclear capacity more than ten times by 2032.

The nuclear agreement with Japan follows a similar one with the United States in 2008 which gave India access to nuclear technology after decades of isolation.

That step was seen as the first big move to build India into a regional counterweight to China.

Story by Oputah David