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Japan, India Commit to Strengthening Economic, Strategic Ties


The Japanese and Indian prime ministers have resolved to strengthen economic and strategic ties between the two countries. The Japanese leader, on a visit to India, also urged India to sign a treaty that seeks to ban nuclear weapons tests.

Expanding trade was at the heart of Tuesday's talks in New Delhi between Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.

The Japanese prime minister says that direct Japanese investment in India last year surpassed that in China, and says Japanese companies are ready to invest more money in India.

Mr. Singh says India's growing economy offers many opportunities for Japanese investment.

"In particular, there is great scope for expansion of cooperation in the areas of urban infrastructure, high technology, and renewable and energy-efficient technologies," he said.

Prime Minister Singh says the two countries are deepening defense and security ties, but economic partnership remains the "bedrock of our relationship".

The two countries called for accelerated talks on an economic partnership agreement, and drew up a plan to advance security cooperation.

The Japanese prime minister urged India to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which seeks to ban nuclear weapons tests. Mr. Hatoyama says he wants the treaty to come into force at an early date.

India has long resisted signing the treaty, calling it discriminatory. However, the Indian leader pointed out that New Delhi observes a voluntary moratorium on such tests and remains committed to the goal of nuclear disarmament.

The Japanese leader was non-committal on giving India access to civil nuclear power technology, which New Delhi has been seeking. Although Japan backed an India-U.S. deal that lifted sanctions on giving civil nuclear technology to India, Tokyo has been hesitant to share the technology with India.

Mr. Hatoyama expressed optimism that India will play a key role in his proposal to establish an East Asian community - a trade bloc of countries in the region.

Before arriving in New Delhi, the Japanese leader visited Mumbai, where he met the leaders of some of India's biggest private companies. He returns to Japan Wednesday.

The two countries have set a target of nearly doubling trade from $12 billion last year to $20 billion in 2010.

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