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Manmohan Singh leaves for 5-day Japan tour, nuclear pact on agenda

The prime minister will make a strong pitch for elevating strategic ties and push for a bilateral pact on civil nuclear energy cooperation.

BT Online Bureau | May 27, 2013 | Updated 14:49 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday left for a five-day visit to Japan and Thailand, aiming to give a "new meaning" to India's 'Look East' policy and hoping it will contribute to peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific.

Singh, who flew to Tokyo, his first halt, described Japan as a "key regional and global partner for India"

On a three-day visit to Tokyo, the prime minister will make a strong pitch for elevating strategic ties and push for a bilateral pact on civil nuclear energy cooperation.

In his departure statement, Singh said he proposed to invigorate India's relations with Japan in the political, security and energy spheres.

"My visits to Japan and Thailand will add depth and new meaning to our 'Look East' policy and contribute to peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific," he said.

The prime minister will hold exhaustive talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Wednesday on the entire gamut of bilateral ties with special focus on giving boost to cooperation in defence, economic, energy and other areas.

"There is a growing congruence in our interest and I see this relationship as an essential component of our vision for enduring stability and prosperity in Asia," Singh said.

The prime minister said in his summit with the new government of Japan, led by "good friend" Abe, he will build on the momentum imparted by successive summits to the India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership.

On the civil nuclear cooperation agreement, Singh had told Japanese reporters earlier that there are problems in Japan, aside from elections to the upper house in the country, which will take place later this year.

"But, I do hope that we can make progress in the civil nuclear energy cooperation," he said. "It will be my effort to use this visit to strengthen our strategic and global partnership, which also includes trying to reach an agreement with regard to civil nuclear energy cooperation."

With inputs from PTI

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