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Sunday, 22 August 2010

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Japan minister in India to discuss nuclear cooperation

NEW DELHI, Aug 21, AFP Japan's foreign minister Katsuya Okada arrived in India on Saturday to push forward civilian nuclear cooperation between the two countries.

His visit came a day after India's cabinet approved a long-delayed draft law that will clear the way for foreign nuclear groups to build reactors in the 150-billion-dollar Indian atomic energy market.

Okada was slated to hold talks with his counterpart, S.M. Krishna, during the two-day state visit, an Indian foreign ministry statement said.The two foreign ministers aimed to firm up defence and economic ties against the backdrop of a second round of talks on a civil nuclear pact between the two countries, which is expected to be signed next month.

In June, the two countries launched talks on the agreement which will allow Tokyo to export civilian nuclear technology and related equipment to energy-hungry India.

"India-Japan relations have undergone a significant and qualitative shift in recent years," the Indian government statement said.Both sides have expressed "resolve to enhance our mutually beneficial strategic and global partnership," the statement added.

The two sides will also discuss economic cooperation, including a multi-billion-dollar Japanese loan for the Delhi-Mumbai freight corridor connecting northern cities with western ports.

Japan is the sixth-largest foreign investor in India and two-way trade totals more than 12 billion dollars.

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