India and Japan will firm up strategic ties during their summit meeting next week with a $4.5-billion grant for an ambitious infrastructure project, announcing Tokyo’s participation in next year’s India-U.S. naval exercises and holding talks on moving ahead with India-Japan-U.S. trilateral cooperation. Talks will also be held on a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation accord. Although Japan will shortly sign similar pacts with Russia, Jordan, Vietnam and South Korea, prospects of an accord with India, a non Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory, sailing through the Japanese Diet are dim…..[But there should] be no problem in Japanese companies supplying components to French and U.S. civil nuclear companies despite the absence of an India-Japan civil nuclear agreement. “Our understanding is that an agreement is required for a comprehensive partnership. But individual items can be sold by Japanese companies [which have a near monopoly on reactor vessels and its parts] to companies such as Areva under a licence from the government,” said sources.
Discussion on rare earthswill be held for the second summit meeting in a row. The decks have been cleared with the removal of Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL) from the Japanese End Users List in August this year. The Prime Ministers are likely to discuss this sensitive subject that entails a joint venture between IREL and Toyota Tsusho for a plant in Orissa. India stopped exporting rare earths seven years ago to stop depletion of mineral resources at a time when international prices were weak.
Sandeep Dikshit, India, Japan to firm up strategic ties, The Hindu, Dec. 25, 2011