TOKYO/ NEW DELHI: It may not be necessary for India to sign Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty(CTBT) for resumption of talks with Japan for peaceful use of nuclear energy but it will certainly help if any such bilateral agreement can weave in New Delhi’s commitment to ban on nuclear test. Top diplomatic sources here told TOI that merely a generic voluntary moratorium on carrying out nuclear tests, which India keeps reiterating, will not be of much help.

The talks for civilian nuclear cooperation between the two countries have remained suspended since the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in March, 2011. In a recent interaction with outgoing Japanese PMYoshihiko Noda in Cambodia, PM Manmohan Singh had raised the issue of nuclear cooperation with Tokyo, but there is still no commitment from Japan exactly when talks will restart.

“Japan is not insisting that India sign CTBT but it is my reading that if India can commit to a test ban in any bilateral agreement for such a cooperation between the two countries, it will certainly make things easier,” a top diplomatic source handling Japan’s non-proliferation policy told TOI. The official was talking on the sidelines of the Fukushima ministerial conference that discussed measures to enhance nuclear safety worldwide, apart from showcasing Japan’s efforts to cope up with the nuclear disaster.

The official added though that Japan was not imposing any pre-conditions for resumption of nuclear dialogue. Indian officials here said though that it was not possible for New Delhi to go any further than what New Delhi had committed to before Nuclear Suppliers Group(NSG) in September, 2008, where got India a waiver to carry out nuclear commerce. Then foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee had said in a statement that India remained committed to a voluntary and unilateral moratorium on nuclear test and to negotiate a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT).

India is hoping that the Liberal Democratic Party chief and the incoming PM, Shinzo Abe, will work towards resumption of talks. Abe shunned the policy of doing away completely with nuclear power and yet managed an emphatic win in the recent Lower House elections. After his victory, Abe has suggested that he will reconsider Japan’s ban on construction of new nuclear reactors in the country. Abe had earlier described the Noda-led government’s call for zero-dependence on nuclear energy as “unrealistic and irresponsible”.