India and Japan will sign a nuclear energy agreement later this month that will allow Tokyo to opt out if South Asian nation tests its nuclear weapons.
The agreement, the first by Japan with a nation that has not ratified the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, will be signed when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Japan later this month, a high-ranking Japanese Foreign Ministry official was quoted as saying by Asahi Shimbun Monday.
According to the agreement, Japan will be able to export its nuclear energy technology for private-sector use in India. The agreement will also give Japan a right to withdraw from the pact if India conducts a nuclear test. Japan has long pushed for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
At a meeting in New Delhi in December 2015, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Modi agreed in principle to sign a nuclear energy agreement. However, Abe told his Indian counterpart, “We will discontinue cooperation should India conduct a nuclear test,” the newspaper reported.
Diplomats of the two nations have since held discussions on the agreement.
Japanese diplomats asked for wording that could be interpreted to mean Japan can cease cooperation in the event of an Indian nuclear test after the bilateral agreement takes effect.
Although Indian officials were hesitant about such wording because of concerns it could constrain India’s national security policy, they also showed an understanding toward the Japanese position.
The two nations are currently hammering out the final wording of the agreement. There is a possibility that the terminology will be vague enough to allow both nations to interpret the agreement in a way that is closer to their own national interests.