After five years of discussions two sides concluded the pact last year and it was signed on Friday after the annual summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe.
Japanese companies are world leaders in nuclear technology and most nuclear power plant equipment-makers, barring the Russians, are dependent on them.
Japan has a near monopoly over making reactor vessel with Japan Steel Works (JSW) leading the pack. In the fray are Chinese state-owned China First Heavy Industries, Creusot Forge, a subsidiary of France’s Areva group, Russia’s OMZ Izhora but JSW accounts for over 75% of the business globally.
If Westinghouse is a Toshiba- subsidiary and even a General Electric reactor core is built by Hitachi. In other words, a pact with Japan would help the process of signing a nuclear cooperation agreement other countries easier.
The Japanese have upper hand in nuclear fuel fabrication and breeder technology. And the pact with Japan helps India advance the technology cooperation with Japan. A pact with Japan helps India bolster its non-proliferation credentials. Japan approving of Indian credentials is a shot in the arm for the country to stress on its non-proliferation track record when it is pulling out all stops to get an entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).