September 14, 2017 11:30 am JST  (Updated September 14, 2017 6:29 pm JST)

Japanese, Indian PMs call for strict oil curbs on North Korea

Abe and Modi working to give teeth to UN resolutions

SHUNSUKE SHIGETA, Nikkei staff writer

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk together in Ahmadabad on Sept. 13. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India. © AP

AHMEDABAD, India -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, on Thursday signed a joint statement that calls for putting maximum pressure on Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile programs. They did so while meeting in the western Indian city of Gandhinagar.

North Korea earlier this month conducted its sixth nuclear test.

On Monday, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution that caps exports of oil to North Korea. If implemented rigorously, oil shipments to the country will be cut 30%, but this depends on how strictly the curbs are enforced.

Abe and Modi also agreed to strengthen ties between Japan and India. China has been increasingly active in the Pacific and Indian oceans, areas of concern, respectively, for Tokyo and New Delhi. Their cooperation will include building infrastructure, such as ports and roads, and expanding defense cooperation with each other and the U.S. On defense, Japan will provide India with technical assistance, including joint studies on unmanned vehicles for ground operations.

On the economic front, Japan and India agreed to liberalize air transport to give airlines more freedom in setting routes between the two countries. The upper limit on the number of flights between them, currently 42 per week, will be abolished to allow airlines to decide on routes and the number of flights according to available landing slots.

The two sides will also set up a public-private working group to study exporting Japan's nuclear plant technology to India, eyeing an imminent nuclear power deal. Negotiations will include how to compensate for damages in the event of a nuclear accident under Indian law and what changes, if any, need to be made to the existing legal framework to allow for remedies.

Abe pledged to provide 190 billion yen ($1.71 billion) in loans to India. Of which, 100 billion yen will be used to build a high-speed railway system based on Japan's shinkansen bullet train system. In the western Indian state of Gujarat, where many Japanese companies operate, Japan will help build infrastructure, such as waterworks and roads.

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