Japan, India nuclear talks deadlocked

Tokyo: Japan and India continue to lock horns over provisions for a proposed civil nuclear cooperation pact. Points of contention include a ban on the transfer of "sensitive technology" from Japan that could be used to develop nuclear weapons, reports in Japanese media suggest.

There is also disagreement over a provision that could enable India to reprocess spent nuclear fuel to extract plutonium from power plants built using Japanese technologies and equipment, sources close to the negotiators said.

These sources were also quoted as saying that differences on such key points would further prolong negotiations, which are already inordinately delayed.

The report also quoted sources as saying that India wants the proposed agreement to include a clause to ensure that the agreement would in no way hamper its nuclear weapons development programme. This, sources said, was a demand that Japan had refused over the previous three rounds of talks.

It was also revealed that Japan was seeking to include provisions that would allow it to halt nuclear technology transfers should India scrap its current freeze on nuclear tests. Sources said such provisions were not acceptable to India.

India was also said to be cautious about a Japanese attempt to break the impasse through the inclusion of a reference to a 2008 agreement between India and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a group of nuclear supplier countries. In the accord with the NSG, India expressed its willingness to maintain a freeze on nuclear tests.