Japan and India agreed on Wednesday to foster discussion of a possible bilateral atomic trade accord, moving the sides closer to enabling Indian purchases of nuclear systems from the island nation, the Japan Times reported.
The 2011 disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant froze prior civilian atomic cooperation talks, which have also been complicated by India's resistance to joining the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
India has promised to apply Japan's atomic expertise and technology solely toward nonmilitary ends, Japanese envoys said. Lead Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the governments would discuss possible verification mechanisms in upcoming discussions, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh endorsed remarks expressing "their shared commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons," the Times reported.
Abe "stressed the importance of bringing into force the [Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty] at an early date," but Singh only "reiterated India's commitment to its unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing," the Times of India quoted the statement as saying.
India is one of 44 "Annex 2" nations that must fully sign off on the treaty before it can enter into force. It is among eight holdouts from that group; the others are China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.