Indian Delegation Calls on Japan For Nuclear Technology Assistance

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

By Mayako Shibata

Tokyo - (PanOrient News) The head of the Indian parliamentary delegation visiting Tokyo called on Japan to provide India with access to nuclear technology and nuclear fuels.

Mr. Baijayant Jay Panda, member of the Indian House of the People (the Lower House), said his country is suffering a big shortage of energy regardless of rapid growth that it has been achieved. At present India depends on imported oil for 70% of its energy needs.

"We still have more than 400 million people who live without electricity. It is challenging and vital that the shortage be immediately solved," Mr. Panda told a a seminar held in Tokyo on October 9, noting that Japan's advanced nuclear technology would be of great assistance to solve the issue.

The seminar, "India-Japan Relations: Opportunities and Challenges", was organized by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation to seek a way to further boost Japan-India relationships. Mr. Panda and three other House of People members as well as two board members of the Confederation of Indian Industry attended the seminar. They are the 8th delegation that has come to Japan.

Prof. Makoto Kojima from Takushoku University participated in the event for the Japanese side.

India is not a signatory of the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and this is one of the obstacles in the way of promoting a Japan-India trade relationship in the field of nuclear power and technology, observers say. Disagreeing with that concern, Mr. Panda explained how India has always scrupulously abided by the principles of nonproliferation. "Not only has India never proliferated but we have taken extreme care to ensure there is no proliferation fromIndia or by Indians. We have also taken practical steps to prevent proliferation, such as intercepting ships that are carrying cargo with nuclear materials," Mr. Panda said. He also alleged civilian nuclear capability has expanded greatly amongst the developed countries thus Japan has a lot to offer within this context.

Since Japan and India are the two biggest democratic countries in Asia, as Mr. Panda pointed out, he stated the two naturally share some common interests as well as responsibility to the world. Stating how Japan and India have worked closely together on both International relations and security, Mr. Panda said,”If we look at the world around us today, filled with issues like terrorism, piracy, threats to free movement of ships, it is clear that India and Japan have an increasingly important role to play in engaging with our neighbors and based on mutual trust. This is a win-win situation."

He also mentioned India and Japan's positions at the UN, as both have long requested to become new permanent members urging expansion of the Security Council. "The UN Security Council should become more representative of the current world instead of remaining in the world of 1945," he said.

Prof. Kojima, sharing the Japanese side's insights, stated the India-Japan economic relationship has a great edge, especially in the information technology (IT) sector, which is one of India's strongest business fields. He added that Japanese pharmaceutical and medical companies are seeking to expand their markets in India. As for the challenge to further future relationships between the two countries, he emphasized human exchange has to be enhanced.

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