Prime Minister Narendra Modi might undertake his much-hyped visit to Japan from August 31 to September 3, and he is likely to hold a bilateral meeting with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on September 1. Modi will leave for Japan on August 31 and come back on September 3, it is learnt. An official announcement and the itinerary by the ministry of external affairs is expected to be announced on Friday on its website.
The visit is expected to be a ‘landmark’ with both sides likely to finally conclude the long-pending civil nuclear deal, the talks for which had started in June 2010 in Tokyo, diplomatic sources told Business Standard. During Abe’s last visit to India when he came here as the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations, both sides had vowed to expedite the talks for having the nuclear deal. That was under the previous United Progressive Alliance regime.
Under the new government, too, the talks have continued to gain momentum. Meanwhile, Japanese companies Hitachi and Toshiba are also learnt to have been lobbying to get the deal closed during Modi’s visit. Formal negotiations to establish a civil nuclear deal with Japan started in June 2010 in Tokyo, followed by two consecutive rounds in October (Delhi) and November (Tokyo). However, India slowed down the pace of negotiations following the aftermath of Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011.
The last round of talks was held in November 2013. As far as defence cooperation is concerned, India and Japan might also announce to fast-track talks on the Amphibian aircraft deal. A joint working group has been set up to explore possibilities on its usage and co-production in India, officials said.
During the visit, there are high chances that Modi might meet Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, who according to the Japanese tradition will go into a sort of hiding later as part of a ritual based on the lunar calendar. Modi’s visit has been planned according to the Emperor’s schedule.