India moved a step closer Wednesday to acquiring Japanese nuclear technology and equipment when its prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and his Tokyo counterpart, Shinzo Abe, signed a joint statement to promote talks to conclude a cooperation pact to this end.

In addition to talks on nuclear power cooperation, the statement issued in Tokyo also supports expanded joint naval exercises.

"I'm very pleased that I'm able to hold a summit with you . . . as the prime minister of Japan again," Abe said at the outset his summit with Singh, going on to praise him for developing a strategic and global bilateral partnership.