Japan is considering lifting economic sanctions on India, imposed in 1998 to protest nuclear tests by New Delhi, before the end of the year in order to get bilateral relations back on a normal footing, government sources said Saturday.

The move, which marks a significant shift in Japan’s officially stated policy of refusing to lift economic sanctions until India signs an international nuclear-test ban treaty, comes ahead of Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s planned first official visit to Tokyo in early December.

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