India has signed the civilian nuclear cooperation deal with Japan after a long negotiation of six years starting from 2010. The signing of the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between Delhi and Tokyo is a historic one as India is the first Non NPT country that Japan has signed a pact with. The comprehensive and conclusive deal was collated, all in the one stage itself unlike the US pact which was done in four stages of 123 agreements, reprocessing, administrative arrangements and NSG, This deal is significant as it marks a major shift in the way the world is viewing India.
What does this deal mean to India?
The sealing of this deal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo bilateral summit is a legal framework of agreement with shared commitments where India will engage itself in nuclear commerce with Japan for peaceful use of nuclear energy and will stand by its word of non-proliferation. The deal also stresses for the cause of an Atomic arsenal free world with safer and secure environments with lesser impact on climate change.
The ‘views and understandings’ note attached with the MoU are on terms of the 2008 Indo-US deal which cites an unilateral undertaking by India to freeze on its atomic tests, meaning that if India conducts nuclear tests, Japan would cease to extend its nuclear cooperation and the deal will be terminated on any violation of commitment, however terms of suspending of cooperation requires a year’s notice from the nation ceasing to abide by the agreement by stating formal reasons for its decision. Since this termination clause is a standard precondition in all NCAs of different nations the defense ministry has said that the note is not binding on India as it is the agreement that means business.
What does India get?
Two US firms GE-Hitachi and Toshiba-Westinghouse which are alliances of Japan will engage in nuclear commerce with India. Although these companies are based in the US, Japan is a prominent stakeholder in the venture hence the execution of the deal was imperative.
Japan will facilitate India to reuse spent fuels on the condition of accepting and allowing inspection by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). Recycling and recovering spent fuels can aid making of nuclear weapons however Japan, like in the US deal will not be tracking nuclear materials flowing through its components in any nuclear reactor in India.
Apart from France, US and Russia, Japan is going to be the new entrant in the nuclear markets of India. The deal also includes cooperation between ISRO and JAXA in the outer space. Apart from these, MoU were also signed for investment in infrastructure like railways, transport terminals and highways, environment and skill development where Japs would train Indians in the manufacturing sector, anti-terror mechanisms were discussed with stress on resolving issues in a peaceful manner.
This D deal would enable strengthening of bilateral security, energy and economic ties between the two nations.
With India’s growing energy needs there is a strong need for an alternative source of energy to reduce its dependency on oil, and nuclear energy if used rightly accounts for lot lesser carbon emission worth investing after careful considerations, rightly so 80% of nuclear plant components are made in Japan which sums up the purpose of this deal more meaningfully.
In this hypocritical world of neo-colonial nuclear supremacy where a few countries like US, UK, France, Russia and even China have accumulated thousands of nuclear weapons of mass destruction over the years who refuse to engage in a unilateral disarmament of their own nuclear arsenal, today nonchalantly preach post-colonial developing nations to fall in line through isolations or sanctions or attached preconditioned notes thereby denying them their right to defend.
Although most non-nuclear nations are all for establishing a non-nuclear world it has become increasingly compulsive in the current global scenario to gear up our defending abilities technologically, militarily and economically to counter and keep at bay threats from nuclear giants by strengthening our energy resources.
India’s non accession to the NPT bullying and boldly engaging in nuclear tests is no threat to the world but an independent defending decision that is testimony to its potential. Although India is not part of the NPT club, India has never had the history of attacking or waging expansionist wars against other countries. It has and is only struggling to defend and reclaim its own occupied borders while trying its best to take the world powers by its friendly strides.
Historically India and Japan have had a nuclear deterrence policy, during 1964 when China was conducting its nuclear tests, India and Japan had sought the US to extend its nuclear umbrella deterrence policy in Asia. Japan was heard but India was ignored hence developing nuclear weapons was the only option for India to avoid this nuclear risk and isolating humiliation.
And the very fact that Japan has signed the civil nuclear cooperation deal with India despite India not being a member of NPT reaffirms Japan’s trust in India as a responsible nation.
Outwardly this deal comes as a counter to China’s expansionist policies aiding terror states, the deal plucks out NSG domination and is a steady road to take on the manufacturing supremacy of China. With India’s improved relations with the US and with US’s falling dominance in this region, India and Japan could emerge as major technological and economic players in the Asian subcontinent in times to come as geo-economics is the new mantra to establish super powers.
But inwardly it is also important for India and Japan to excise caution and reflect upon the Chinese and American bonhomie in the 1940s which formed the very reason for WWII. Also, in spite of all denials by Washington that it is China and not US that needs it for its flourishing economy, the fact remains that America and China are large interdependent trade partners and China being a trade savvy nation whose economic engine is built and runs on trade, it might end up realizing the futility of going to a war. While China has all along portrayed a face of anti-imperialism, the truth is that it has always gone against Asian interests and let down its own immediate neighbors _ be it India, Tibet, Vietnam or Japan. It is another thing that it is the western prodding and manipulative interference has often forced nations to go into a war but it is also true that China has indirectly sided with the western interests knowingly or unknowingly, making sure India and the other smaller Asian nations are always kept in check, which is the exact strategy of the west.
China has always meant business and it will not mess with the US, its major economic booster unlike Japan which was largely responsible for cleanup of western dominance in the Asian region at its own cost. Nevertheless Japan moved on to make its mark back in the global map on its own but India that sided with the British during WWII against Japan has remained stagnated and choked for far too long in the colonial shadows from the past seven decades, it is in this context that Japan handholding India towards development is a welcome move with or without note.
The US has always packaged the same foreign policy in newer bottles and newer names, if a Taliban has fallen then there was always an ISIS, if there is a POK today, tomorrow it might leverage on a COK by throttling China’s economic neck which could perhaps be a counter check by the Americans to control the two promising nations of the Asian subcontinent _ India and Japan.
Now coming back to the significant deal between India and Japan, there is a lot of furor about the ‘Note’ that is attached with the deal that states that Japan would cease the deal in the event of India conducting nuclear tests but this is a clause in all civil agreements signed with most other nations like US and France as well.
And ever since the 2008 safeguards agreement given by the IAEA, the NSG has issued a waiver to India, the only country with nuclear weapons but not part of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty allowing it to carry on nuclear trade with the rest of the world, this is perhaps because of the implicit trust that the world reposes in India as a peaceful and credible nation. Pakistan too, has accumulated some nuclear weapons but it is an open secret that Pakistan is less of a country for its people and more of an imperial puppet that has leased out its land for nuclear arsenal parking.
With respect to the Indo-Japan Civil Nuclear Agreement, the Indian Government has already expressed that it respects and honors its shared commitments and the PM has expressed that this agreement is more than just a commerce and clean energy deal, which indicates mutual confidence and dependability of this strategic partnership for a peaceful coexistence and a secure world.
This deal will not only help India get Japanese nuclear technologies and services but also serve as one more step towards making India a part of the Nuclear Supply Group as reaffirmed by the Japanese counterpart which reiterates Japan’s earnest interest in aiding the developmental rise of India.
India has 25% of the world’s Thorium and 1% of the world’s Uranium reserves which can be deployed for building its nuclear weapons while importing nuclear components and technology for its civil nuclear energy needs.
Apart from its natural resources, even the nuclear isolation and sanctions levied by US and other NSG nations in the past, has impulsively led India to come up with its own unique indigenous nuclear techniques. Also the lack of any impact on India’s economy due to the nuclear sanctions in 1998 has forced countries like US and UK to unignorably align and acknowledge India’s strategic importance in the geo-political scenario and the Indo-Japan deal is the newest feather in India’s cap.