Termination clause in nuclear deal with Japan not binding on India, insists govt

New Delhi: The just-signed historic civil nuclear deal with Japan has a "termination" clause which the government here insists is not binding on India but merely records the "views" of the Japanese side considering its "special sensitivities".

The government insisted that India has made "no additional commitments" over the similar agreements signed with the US and other countries.

In the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Friday, there is a note on 'Views and Understanding' wherein the Japanese side has cited India's September 2008 declaration of unilateral moratorium on atomic tests and said if this commitment is violated, the deal will terminate.

Indian government holds that this is merely recording of the views of the two sides.

Termination clause in nuclear deal with Japan not binding on India, insists govt

A file photo of Narendra Modi, Shinzo Abe. PTI

"The termination clause is there in other NCAs (nuclear cooperation agreements) we have signed, including with the US (Article 14). However the circumstances triggering a possible termination are never sharply defined. Consideration also has to be given to mitigating factors," a source here said.

"That note is simply a record by the negotiators of respective views on certain issues. It is not the NCA which is what is binding," the source said.

The sources added that given Japan's special sensitivities as the only nation to have suffered a nuclear attack, "it was felt that their views should be recorded in a separate Note. The Note is a record by the negotiators of respective views on certain issues.

"It states, on the one hand, what could be Japan's views in advance on what is a hypothetical situation; that is their national prerogative. At the same time it also records India’s position on the same issue, which is a reiteration of the September 2008 commitments. No change is envisaged from those commitments and no, repeat no, additional commitments have been made by India."

"On termination, there is no change from the US template," the source added.

The nuclear agreement with Japan "follows the same template (as the US) but compresses the developments which have taken place since 2007. It reflects commitments which were made at the time of the NSG waiver in 2008, many of which were unilateral in nature," according to the source.

The four steps of the Indo-US deal which have been compressed and captured into a single stage are – 123 agreement (2007), NSG waiver (2008), Reprocessing pact (2010) and Administrative mechanisms (2013), sources said.

The sources maintained that the views of Japan, "on when they can ask for it", is "their national prerogative".

Japan has made a major exception by signing the atomic cooperation agreement with India, despite it being non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

After the Indo-Japan deal was signed, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had said it is strikingly similar to atomic agreements India inked with the US and most of the other countries, having provisions like 'termination' clause.

In the 123 Agreement between India and the US, there is a clause for termination but it mentions that if India conducts a nuclear test, the two sides will initiate discussions immediately to understand the reasons for it. The discussions have to be concluded within a year, inferring that till then the nuclear deal will not be called off.

During the joint media interaction along with Modi after the deal was signed, Abe had referred to India's declaration of September 2008 with regard to voluntary moratorium on nuclear tests.

"This agreement is a legal framework that India will act responsibly in peaceful uses of nuclear energy and also in Non-Proliferation regime even though India is not a participant or signatory of NPT," he had said.

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Updated Date: Nov 13, 2016 16:45:24 IST

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