India agrees to link N-testing to termination of deal with Japan

The move marks a significant departure in India’s nuclear diplomacy and there is apprehension that it may open the floodgates for renegotiation with other countries, with whom Delhi has signed nuclear pacts in the past.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | Kobe | Published:November 13, 2016 4:17 am
Kobe: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at the signing of MoUs between government of Gujarat and prefecture of Hyogo in Kobe on Saturday. PTI Photo/PIB(PTI11_12_2016_000053B) Kobe: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at the signing of MoUs between government of Gujarat and prefecture of Hyogo in Kobe on Saturday. PTI Photo

India has agreed to link nuclear testing with termination of the civilian nuclear agreement that it signed with Japan on Friday. This has been done through a separate two-page “note on views and understanding” so that Japan could make an exception for India – the deal was the first Japan had signed with a non-NPT signatory.

The move marks a significant departure in India’s nuclear diplomacy and there is apprehension that it may open the floodgates for renegotiation with other countries, with whom Delhi has signed nuclear pacts in the past.

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While the civil nuclear agreement was publicly signed on Friday — in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe — between Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Japan’s Ambassador to India, Kenji Hiramatsu, the two-page note, between India’s top nuclear negotiator Amandeep Singh Gill and his Japanese counterpart, was not announced. The Sunday Express has, however, seen both the Japanese and the English versions.

The note also has a clause that says that if Japan scraps the deal in the event of India conducting nuclear tests, India cannot claim compensation for disruption of electricity from a nuclear power plant and the consequent economic losses.

This substantive shift in India’s nuclear diplomacy comes eight years after India signed the 123 agreement with the US, a template it has stuck to ever since.

The two-page note has five clauses and begins by recalling then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s statement to the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group in September 2008 and describes it as an “essential basis” for the deal. “The representative of the Japanese delegation stated that the Statement delivered by Pranab Mukherjee, then External Affairs Minister of India, on September 5, 2008 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the September 5 statement’), constitutes an essential basis for cooperation between the two States under the Agreement.”

Mukherjee’s statement, which has not been recorded in the two-page statement, had said, “We remain committed to a voluntary, unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing… We affirm our policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons.”

Interestingly, this note and the agreement was signed a day after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s controversial comments on the no-first-use policy, which he claimed was his “personal opinion”.

The second clause in the note says that in implementing the provisions of Article 14 of the deal, which deals with the termination and cessation of the agreement, Japan may exercise its rights and initiate the procedures “where there is any change in this basis”. The note goes on to say that the representative of the Japanese delegation stated that “an Indian action in violation of the September 5 statement could be viewed as a serious departure from the prevailing situation” – which is a clear reference to nuclear testing and no-first use. “In that situation, reprocessing of nuclear material subject to the agreement will be suspended in accordance with paragraph 9 of Article 14 of the Agreement”, it said.

Article 14 in the main text of the India-Japan deal makes no reference to the nuclear tests. Article 14(9) of the deal says any decision to seek ‘suspension’ will be taken after consultations between the two countries that will be aimed at reaching “mutually acceptable resolution of outstanding issues”. The suspension, it says, will be for three months.

“In case the suspension extends beyond a period of six months, both countries shall enter into consultations on compensation for the adverse impact on the Indian economy due to disruption in electricity generation and loss on account of disruption of contractual obligations,” it says.

However, in the additional note, the Japanese interlocutor has put in a caveat. “The representative of the Japanese delegation… stated that in such a situation, Japan reserves the right to contest India’s claim of compensation for the adverse impact on the Indian economy due to disruption in electricity generation and loss on account of disruption of contractual obligations,” the fourth clause in the note said.

What this means is that India cannot ask for any compensation owing to power disruption and loss of business.

While the Indian interlocutor, Amandeep Singh Gill, had reiterated Delhi’s commitment to Mukherjee’s statement of September 5, 2008, the deviation from the previous agreements, including the US and the French ones, is expected to raise eyebrows in Delhi.

“India went an extra mile for the Japanese government, since they have a very strong anti-nuclear lobby in the Diet. This is expected to facilitate the passage of the nuclear agreement in the Japanese parliament,” a government source said.

On Friday, Foreign Secretary Jaishankar had said that the agreement with Japan was “broadly in line with the agreements that India had done with other countries”.

When asked about the termination clause, Jaishankar had said that the pact with Japan had a clause for ending the agreement, “which is quite similar to the US one”. “I am not very clear about releasing the status of the agreement. But when it is released, you will find that there is a striking similarity,” he had said.

Commenting on the termination clause, Takako Hirose, professor at Senshu University and an expert on nuclear issues and South Asia, told The Indian Express, “I am not sure how important the termination clause is, because in practice, what can you do? Can you take back the reactor you have supplied? How? Can you refuse to provide maintenance service knowing it might lead to a disaster? But the Japanese government has to show its nuclear-allergic nation has sent an important message to India.”

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  1. R
    Ram
    Nov 13, 2016 at 4:56 am
    When real war breaks out and countries existence is threatened all these agreements are just useless papers, there are historical events which prove that pacts and agreements could not bind countries from pursuing their national interest. But "No first use" as announced policy is pathetic, that's true.
    Reply
    1. D
      Dev
      Nov 13, 2016 at 5:45 am
      Deal is good , but giving up right to test weapons is not all right.
      Reply
      1. G
        Gantasala
        Nov 13, 2016 at 1:54 pm
        Oh... yeah. Anyways Nuclear Test by Hindiots have proven to be DUDs like the thermonuclear DUD of 1998.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Can you see how the incompetent, utterly incapable BRAHMINUTS even exploited their incompetence in the agreement with J a p a n?
        Reply
        1. S
          Seshadri
          Nov 13, 2016 at 6:06 pm
          How dare you brahmin DOG OPPOSE somebody who is condemning the rapists of Bharat Mata?
          Reply
          1. D
            Didi
            Nov 13, 2016 at 2:02 pm
            You provide us FK ushima name clear technology, we stop Nuclear Test.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;You train our people in your manufacturing technology, we will stop developing our own manufacturing technologylt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;You supply us bullet train, we will never even apply our brain to develop one.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;You supply us just bullets, we will declare it was jointly developed.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;We dogs consider you J a p a n e s e more superior than ourselves. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;We Brahmin dogs are here for anybody in the world to come and RAPE BHARAT MATA. Ki Jai.
            Reply
            1. K
              Karupannan
              Nov 13, 2016 at 2:25 pm
              Shri Modiji is very brilliant and of course his kingwhisperers. Because the dogs know that INDIA DOES NOT HAVE THE CAPABILITY TO EITHER MAKE A DEVICE NOR TEST IT. ALL THESE YEAR YOU FOOLS HAVE BEEN THINKING THAT INDIA IS NUCLEAR CAPABLE. ALL BS PROPAA.
              Reply
              1. M
                Michellegt;Vedicgt;human
                Nov 13, 2016 at 5:08 am
                Only if sir MODIJI would have been in power 15 years ago,---today India would have been 50yrs ahead,----sir MODIJI you are my HERO.
                Reply
                1. R
                  Raj
                  Nov 13, 2016 at 5:20 am
                  Guys - it is the same thing India has with the United States - only without a 123 agreement! No one tests nukes anymore, and a Nuclear War is close to impossible these days. So, relax, at most, they will discontinue their maintenance, there are always other suppliers (for spares).
                  Reply
                  1. B
                    bitterhoney
                    Nov 13, 2016 at 6:57 pm
                    No BJP man should be trusted. Kalyan Singh, then CM of UP had given written affidavit in Supreme Court that Babri Masjid would not be harmed. He did not care for the affidavit and allowed kar sewaks to demolish the Masjid. Same thing will be repeated by Modi.
                    Reply
                    1. C
                      Chris
                      Nov 13, 2016 at 4:59 pm
                      pig.. get lost
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        A villager
                        Nov 13, 2016 at 6:47 am
                        Big compromise. Will prove very fatal later on. Trade carefully Mr. Modi.
                        Reply
                        1. J
                          JM
                          Nov 13, 2016 at 6:50 am
                          Whatever negoitiated earlier will be destro by this . Now he understands that foreign trade negoitiations especially nuclear is not that easy. When he was gujju cm, he used to boast on everything. And he got another dumb as his defence minister.
                          Reply
                          1. M
                            Murthy
                            Nov 13, 2016 at 7:00 am
                            I question this report. It wrongly umes that India HAS to conduct further testing. I believe India does not need to conduct any further testing, because India has gathered the "Codes" needed to ensure that she has "working devices".... Before the days of 'computer models' testing was necessary. Not any longer. Jane's Defence Insute and The Stockholme Peace Insute have both said India has devices and the indigenous expertise to make further "devices"... Or else, why would the NSG even consider India's membership application ???
                            Reply
                            1. M
                              Manu USA
                              Nov 13, 2016 at 2:06 pm
                              India shouldn't sign this agreement. I still oppose the testing clause. lt;br/gt;India lost its freedom.
                              Reply
                              1. M
                                mathimathi
                                Nov 13, 2016 at 8:33 am
                                WORLD without the nukes better one.
                                Reply
                                1. A
                                  Avinash
                                  Nov 13, 2016 at 2:29 pm
                                  Nuclear testing is pe~ . More can be accomplished on the monitor of your PC than ruining the environment through nuclear tests. I agree there was no need to include this item in the agreement but then based on the media reporting, it refers only to the tests, not nuclear use against inimical forces against India.
                                  Reply
                                  1. A
                                    Avinash
                                    Nov 13, 2016 at 2:21 pm
                                    The most clueless rhetorical nonsense
                                    Reply
                                    1. P
                                      PD
                                      Nov 13, 2016 at 2:58 am
                                      Just sign the NPT who are they fooling?
                                      Reply
                                      1. R
                                        Rajaram V.V.
                                        Nov 13, 2016 at 3:24 am
                                        A immature action by the government
                                        Reply
                                        1. G
                                          goldenfig
                                          Nov 13, 2016 at 7:47 am
                                          Only the willingly and involuntarily ignorant will approve Modi's tryst with nuclear energy pogroms. Some comments below are anti life like S Singh's.Pl study Modiji my work on energy audit on nuclear energy programmes at energy audit of the indian nuclear programme and learn that even after thirty years into the programme the nuclear industry will still be consuming energy not delivering it to society outside the nuke industry. On what basis are you forcing us to go bankrupt?
                                          Reply
                                          1. R
                                            rohan
                                            Nov 13, 2016 at 8:04 am
                                            # s only could sign such losing deals
                                            Reply
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