Singh calls for India-Japan nuclear co-operation accord

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 May, 2013, 4:25am
AFP

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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called for an early accord on civil nuclear co-operation with Tokyo and more Japanese investment ahead of an official visit, reports said yesterday.

Singh, who will travel to Japan this week for talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, made the remarks during an interview with Japanese media in New Delhi on Saturday.

The Indian leader said he would "use this visit to strengthen our strategic and global partnership, which also includes trying to reach an agreement with regard to civil nuclear energy co-operation", according to Kyodo News.

Japan-India negotiations on a civil nuclear energy agreement have been suspended since Japan suffered a nuclear crisis triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Singh also called on Japanese industry to boost investment and contribute toward India's economic growth, describing his country's inadequate infrastructure as "a big bottleneck".

"I see an enormous role for Japanese industry to contribute not only to infrastructure development of India, but also to accelerate the tempo of the manufacturing sector," he said.

The premier said that to help Japanese and other foreign investors, he had set up a cabinet committee on investment to look at those bottlenecks that hamper development of the infrastructure sector.

Singh will arrive in Tokyo today for a four-day visit during which he will also meet Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

His trip was originally scheduled for November when Japanese premier Yoshihiko Noda was in power, and had been expected to include the signing of infrastructure projects deals worth US$15 billion.

However, the visit was postponed after Noda called December elections which saw him ousted and Abe installed in the top spot.