A civil nuclear agreement may not be in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's kitty when he visits Japan later this year, but Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu hoped that some “conclusion'' would be made during the prime minister's visit.
“What we agreed upon last year was that the agreement would be signed after the technical discussions. We are in the process of the detailed technical discussions. I can't say it will be signed at the moment..,'' he said at a discussion organised by Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents. “But as Ambassador, I hope, some conclusion will be made on the occasion of the prime minister's visit.”
The two countries have an in-principle agreement, he said. The Indo-Japanese civil nuclear deal has been in the making for some time now. But it requires legislative approval and needs to be presented to the Diet. So far, the agreement has not come up for discussion.
The dates for the visit have not yet been finalised. “The two countries are getting closer and closer,'' said Hiramatsu. “The relationship is probably the highest in history.”
The bromance between Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzō Abe seems to be real. The two prime ministers “talk in a cordial and frank manner,'' said the Ambassador. “It was an important timing to consolidate our relationship,” he said.
India was already collaborating with Japan for maritime security—especially with the Malabar exercises—and it was hoped that India and Japan would have more strategic dialogue.
There has been progress in the project of high-speed rail line between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The details of the date for conclusion of the work is being discussed, the Ambassador said. There have been several rounds of committee meetings. “It is important to show steady progress,'' he said. The Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor was also very “important'', he said.
On being asked whether he was concerned about the rise of China, he said “Both India and China are responsible countries....we would like China to abide by international laws and respect international conventions.”