Problematic pact with India

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday agreed to accelerate talks to conclude a pact that would allow Japanese firms to export nuclear power-generation technologies and equipment to India, which is struggling to secure stable electricity supplies to sustain its economic growth. The agreement came when the United States, France, Russia and South Korea are fiercely competing to get orders for nuclear technologies and equipment from India.

A Japan-India nuclear cooperation pact is problematic especially in view of the fact that India is not a party to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). India plans to build some 20 new nuclear power plants and to increase the share of nuclear power in total electricity supply from the current 4 percent to 25 percent by 2050. The value of India’s nuclear power market is estimated at $150 billion (about ¥15 trillion).

Mr. Abe has already signed agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Turkey to enable the export of Japan’s nuclear power technologies and equipment to them. It is deplorable that he is pushing such exports to India, paying little attention to the danger of nuclear power generation and the need to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation.

Mr. Abe appears to ignore the sober fact that Japan has suffered from the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Some 150,000 people from Fukushima Prefecture are still forced to live away from their homes in areas contaminated with radioactive substances from the plant.

India carried out nuclear explosion tests, repeated test launches of missiles that can be tipped with nuclear weapons, and is not a signatory of the NPT. India and its neighbor Pakistan, a nuclear armed nation that is not a member to the NPT, have been engaged in an arms race. These stark facts should not been forgotten.

India has no comprehensive safeguard agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to let the nuclear watchdog inspect nuclear-related equipment and fissile materials in a signatory nation and have the nation provide relevant data.

But in 2008, under the pressure from the U.S. Bush administration, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, including the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Japan, decided to allow exports of nuclear power technologies and equipment to India, giving it exceptional treatment. In exchange, India pledged unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear weapons tests and joining a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty to ban the further production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.

But India has called for insertion of a clause in a Japan-India nuclear pact, which ensures that the pact will not hamper India’s nuclear weapons program. It also wants the right to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from Japanese nuclear power generation equipment. Japan should never accept these Indian demands.

Japan should rethink its approach to India because a Japan-India nuclear pact could trigger a further arms race between India and Pakistan, thus undermining Japan’s and India’s joint goal to ensure peace and stability in the whole of Asia.

  • IAF101

    Japanese insistence and reliance on failed treaties like the NPT is ironic given their experiences with North Korea – a former NPT signatory or the international witch-hunt for nukes going on in Iran – a NPT signatory that has been harassed and accused without any significant proof so far.

    If Japan believes that a signature on a piece of paper is going to stop nations from doing whatever they can to secure their sovereignty then it is the only nation on Earth surrounded by two nuclear nations on both sides that are inimical to its prosperity and growth. Who is going to ensure Indian sovereignty, territorial integrity and the freedom of 1.21 billion Indians against hostile designs by China – a nuclear power ? The United States, the UNSC ? Just like the United States and the UN is ensuring the territorial integrity of Japan in the face of Chinese aggression ??

    The NPT was conceived of in 1968 and came into force in 1970 with five recognized nuclear powers, whose selection was highly arbitrary and contrary to the central principle of the UN -that of equality of all nations. Former imperialist and colonialists like the UK, France who had enslaved millions of people, hundreds of cultures to enrich themselves were allowed to posses nuclear weapons. Undemocratic and closed societies like the Soviet Union and China were allowed to posses nuclear weapons but not India.

    Japan needs to understand that a piece of paper and a promise mean nothing, it is the person making the promise that counts and India’s record on that count speaks for itself treaty or no treaty.

  • SanjoyDas1

    The differing stances taken by India and Japan are both based on each nations own past experience. Japan, which saw first hand the horrors of nuclear bombs is very sensitive to preserve the NPT. India was reduced to extreme poverty and starvation by the British invasion/colonialization as it did not have a powerful military to defend itself from foreign invaders. This is why it is paranoid about other nations possessing so many nukes when it only has a handful. Everybody understands that India has no aggressive intentions.

    However this lopsided article ignores three crucial aspects:

    1. India already has less nuclear warheads (80-100) than even Pakistan (90 – 110). Pakistan’s arsenal, but not India’s is also the world’s fastest growing arsenal. Clearly India is NOT interested in a South Asian arms-race. It only wants to keep its options open in case the nuclear security scenario changes in future.

    2. India will place FOURTEEN nuclear installations under IAEA safeguard in 2014. This is MORE than the 5 original nuclear-weapons states – China, Russia, UK, USA and France COMBINED. Furthermore, IAEA safeguards applied to Indian installations are MORE STRINGENT than those five countries.

    3. All major countries in the world either possess nuclear weapons or are protected through mutual security arrangements with a nuclear-weapons state. For instance the US provides nuclear security to many countries such as Japan, Germany, Australia and even New Zealand and Turkey. But India enjoys no such nuclear umbrella. Would Japan want to stop enjoying the security of an American nuclear umbrella?

    What’s most interesting is that there is no mention of China anywhere in this biased editorial, although China happens to be India’s main long-term security concern, and the reason why it went nuclear in the first place!

  • SunilVerma

    India has been far less indiscrete with proliferating nuclear technology than other nuclear powers. NPT has outlived its utility in this day and age. However, the powers that be are indifferent and continue to pump billions of dollars in military aid to Pakistan who has been clearly indicted in exporting such technology to Iran and North Korea. It is strange that someone should continue to harp on NPT…. Linking India and Pakistan is simply ridiculous. Why does NPT not restrict the current power holders from conducting further research and development of miniature nuclear weapons ? Trying to create a ‘have’ vs ‘have not’ will not work any more. The war mongers and their supporters preaching others is hilarious !

    Comparing India and Pakistan is almost like comparing North Korea with South Korea !

    Japan Times is capable of more balanced reporting rather than preaching the virtues of outdated treaties.

  • This article presented a very sober view I think, maybe more than sober, purely natural.
    It’s very un-pleasant, worrying thing what our leaders are doing lately, ignoring any of neighbor’s concerns, just doing things after money.
    Even they seem to be forgotten how we have to be, or supposed to be like, as an only country which suffered by dirty bombs in the past.
    Or, we still haven’t solved the Fukushima case, having no idea of long term influence with radioactivity, kept polluting the world sea, then how can we say that “We have some nuclear merchandise to offer you”, no way, it’s completely out of sanity.
    I don’t think it’s OK with us if we’ve got money, or more job, as lomg as we’re disregarding Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
    We must become a last one to ruin it in the first place.
    Also we have to take care of relationships with neighbor countries more and more, always reminding ourselves of the Communique or Treaties, with respect and love, but arrogance and any perky atitude.
    There’s no regional peace concerning just ourselves, China and both Korea, these are the people who’re sharing many of culture and civilazation with us since ever, we can’t be enemies with each other again.
    We Japanese must be first to make up to them, ask them to talk it over, sincerely.

  • Sunrit

    The agreement came when the United States, France, Russia and South Korea are fiercely competing to get orders for nuclear technologies and equipment from India.

    Wow that sounds legit
    Why don’t they ask Japan directly instead,if that is what you’re implying?

    • Hi, not sure if you responded me or not, but I might say what a Japanese have to say this time.
      I don’t support what Abe has done in India, reasons are as I wrote above there.
      Also Abe and his ministration are just taking care of money, or money to bring them the next campaign’s winner in July, that’s all, since they’re not real statesmen, at least the current leader is a poor sick resigned man, not qualified for handling any of national issues, though I think there’s no difference if there’s no sickness in his case.
      We’re implying nothing but money, or money to bring more job, there’s no further intent to consider many of Treaties or anything else, including ones made between neighbors, that’s my first concern.
      Neighbors always have to be the first we speak to.
      Current our politicians, are not that smart to have any implication with foreign negotiation, they’re too simple or reckless just as we voters would be.
      I don’t think if there’s any problem with you when I’m addressing my Hibakusyakoku statement as it is, otherwise, if you’re my co-national, I’m prepared to discuss it with you in my own language, since it might be half or twice more better than my second one.

  • sangos

    Japan and India faces a common enemy China. Pakistan is just China’s little expendable sideshow. Both countries have hundreds of dongfengs with MIRV nuclear warheads targeted on their cities. India and Japan must come together as a democratic front against a dangerous dictator regime.