The landmark civil nuclear deal sealed today with Japan is strikingly similar to the agreements India has with the US and some other countries but contains some added features on safety and security, reflecting Japan's concerns on the issue.
The deal, expected to open the door for Japanese companies to set up nuclear reactors in India, will come into effect once Japan's parliament ratifies it and India was confident of its clearance.
Briefing reporters on the deal, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar recalled that there were four stages in the Indo-US civil nuclear deal such as signing of 123 agreement in 2007, getting NSG clearance in 2008, finalising the reprocessing pact in 2010 and finally inking the administrative pact in 2015.
In the case of the deal with Japan, he said all the "four stages that were part of the deal with the US" was compressed into one. "What was contained in the each of four stages was captured into a single stage and that was signed today."
He said Japan's sensitivities and concerns were addressed, adding much more emphasis was given on nuclear safety and security.
Asked whether he was confident that Japan's Parliament will ratify the pact, Jaishankar said, "We conclude agreements in the expectation that they are then ratified and implemented. I do not see any reason why that should not be the case in case of Japan."
The deal would allow Japan to export nuclear technology to India, making it the first non-NPT signatory to have such a deal with Tokyo. It would also cement the bilateral economic and security ties as the two countries warm up to counter an assertive China.
There was political resistance in Japan - the only country to suffer atomic bombings during World War II - against a nuclear deal with India, particularly after the disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.
Japan is a major player in the nuclear energy market and an atomic deal with it will make it easier for US-based nuclear plant makers Westinghouse Electric Corporation and GE Energy Inc to set up atomic plants in India as both these conglomerates have Japanese investments.
"It is very much on the lines of those we signed earlier," said Jaishankar.
Besides the US, India has signed civil nuclear deal with Russia, South Korea, Mangolia, France, Namibia, Argentina, Canada, Kazakhstan and Australia.
Asked about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's reference to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and CTBT, the Foreign Secretary said India understands Japan will have those positions.
"Japan is a NPT and CTBT signatory. We understand that Japan would have those positions. From our point of view we have a very strong non-proliferation record, very responsible record.
"That is the record which has been basis for international cooperation in civil nuclear energy with us. So while we are not a party to the NPT, there was a broad recognition including by Abe that this is a country which has a very responsible record, truely a worthy partner in nuclear sector," Jaishankar said.
Referring to CTBT, he said India had declared "a voluntary unilateral moratorium and in fact during the time of NSG exemption, we had made a policy statement laying out our position. That commitment of 2008 was reiterated which lies at the heart of our case (for membership) of the NSG."
Asked whether there was a termination clause in the pact, he said most of the nuclear cooperation pacts have such provisions.
On whether there was Japan specific features in the agreement, he said he talked about annexures pertaining to reprocessing and some other provisions including change in technical definitions, adding concerns and priorities of the partner countries are incorporated.