The Union Government has said that the “termination” clause in the recently signed historic civil nuclear deal with Japan will be not binding on India.
But the “termination” clause merely records the “views” of the Japanese side considering its “special sensitivities” as Japan is the only nation to have suffered a nuclear attack.
Besides, the Union Government has also insisted that India has made “no additional commitments” over the similar agreements signed with the US and other countries.
What is the issue?
The historic India-Japan Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (or nuclear deal) was signed on 11 November 2016. The ‘Note on Views and Understanding’ signed after the agreement effectively allow Japan to invoke an “emergency” suspension of nuclear supplies if India goes for testing a nuclear weapon and to contest any compensation claims from India in court. This note has been included to help the Japanese Government to clear the nuclear deal in the Parliament or Diet in early 2017. In Japan, there is political opposition for making an exception for India as it is not signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
What is India’s position?
India has given a voluntary moratorium on nuclear tests and has traditionally refused to link its nuclear trade with pre-conditions on testing, holding it is a matter of nuclear sovereignty. The nuclear agreement with Japan follows the same template as that of the India-US nuclear deal. However, in this case the circumstances triggering a possible termination are not sharply defined. Thus, note on views and understanding signed with Japan is simply a record by the negotiators (i.e. India and Japan) of respective views on certain issues and not binding.