13 Décembre 2015
December 12, 2015
NEW DELHI--Japan will provide $12 billion of soft funding to build India's first bullet train, the two countries announced on Dec. 12 during a visit by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which also yielded deeper defense ties and a plan for civil nuclear cooperation.
Relations have strengthened between Asia's second and third largest economies as Abe and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, seek to balance China's rise as Asia's dominant power.
The deal to build a high-speed train line between the financial hub of Mumbai and Ahmedabad city gives Japan an early lead over China, which is conducting feasibility studies for high speed trains on other parts of the Indian rail network.
"This enterprise will launch a revolution in Indian railways and speed up India's journey into the future. It will become an engine of economic transformation in India," Modi said in a speech.
Under the defense deals announced on Dec. 12, the two sides will share technology, equipment and military information, but the long-awaited sale of Japanese aircraft in a deal worth about $1.1 billion was not concluded.
Similarly, while they agreed to work toward cooperation in civil-nuclear technology, they stopped short of signing an agreement, citing outstanding technical differences.
Japan, the only country to have experienced nuclear attacks, has been demanding additional nonproliferation guarantees from India before it exports nuclear reactors.
India and Japan have been negotiating a nuclear energy deal since Japan's ally, the United States, opened the way for nuclear commerce with India despite its weapons program.
"The memorandum we signed on civil nuclear energy cooperation is more than just an agreement for commerce and clean energy, it is a shining symbol of a new level of mutual confidence and strategic partnership in the cause of peaceful and secure world," Modi said.
"I know the significance of this decision for Japan and I assure you that India deeply respects that decision and will honor our shared commitment," Modi added.
India and Japan have been holding talks for two years on the purchase by India of US-2 amphibious aircraft made by ShinMaywa Industries, which would be one of Japan's first arms sales since Abe lifted a 50-year ban on weapon exports.
December 11, 2015
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left Friday for a three-day visit to India, where he will meet with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to discuss a proposed bilateral nuclear cooperation treaty.
Speaking to reporters at his office before departure from Tokyo International Airport at Haneda, Abe expressed his intention to make efforts to reach an agreement on measures to prevent Japanese nuclear technologies sold to India from being diverted to military use.
“Japan is the only country in the world that has ever suffered an atomic bombing,” Abe said. “We’re holding negotiations based on this fact.”
India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The nuclear cooperation agreement with India would be Japan’s first with a country outside the NPT regime.
Japan and India started negotiations on a bilateral nuclear cooperation treaty in 2010. They are in the final stages of discussions on whether to stipulate in the treaty that bilateral nuclear cooperation would be suspended if India conducts a nuclear test again. India has not carried out a nuclear test since 1998.
At their meeting slated for Saturday in New Delhi, Abe and Modi are also expected to reaffirm that their countries will strengthen cooperation with the United States at a time when China is accelerating its maritime expansion.
“I’m aiming for results (from the meeting) that will add strong momentum to the further development of the relationship between Japan and India,” Abe said.
The two leaders are also seen agreeing on the use of Japan’s shinkansen system for a planned high-speed railway between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in western India. Japan is planning to support the project with a large amount of low-interest yen loans.
On Thursday, an Indian government minister and official said India’s Cabinet has cleared a $14.7 billion Japanese proposal to build its first bullet train line, one of India’s biggest foreign investments in its infrastructure sector.
The decision ahead of Abe’s visit gives Japan an early lead over China, which is also bidding to build high-speed rail lines across large parts of India’s congested and largely British-era system.
Japan had offered to finance 80 percent of the cost of the train, which would link the financial capital Mumbai with Ahmedabad, the commercial center of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, at an interest rate of less than 1 percent.
“It’s been done,” said a government minister who attended the Cabinet meeting headed by Modi late on Wednesday.
An official in Modi’s office confirmed the decision, saying there were some issues relating to the bullet train that had since been sorted out in time for Abe’s visit.
“We expect to make an announcement during the visit,” the official said. Both the minister and the official declined to be identified.
Broad agreements are also likely to be reached on two bilateral treaties that would enhance defense cooperation between Japan and India.
One is designed to prevent the transfer of defense technologies to a third country, while the other will specify rules for information protection.
This is Abe’s third trip to India, including during his first tenure between 2006 and 2007. It will be the fifth time for him to have bilateral talks with Modi.
Abe and Modi will together visit the sacred Hindu city of Varanasi on Saturday in a gesture to further deepen their personal relationship of trust.