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India, Japan sign agreements for co-operation in energy, telecom sectors

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NEW DELHI - India and Japan have signed agreements on co-operation in the energy and telecom sectors during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to New Delhi.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks with Abe on Saturday and said India was taking steps to facilitate Japan's links with India's growing economy.

Singh said that India also was discussing with Japan the possibility of buying an amphibian aircraft called the US-2 and its co-production in India. "More broadly, we are working toward increasing our co-operation in the area of advanced technologies."

The two agreed to hold regular consultations between their national security councils on security issues. India invited Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force to participate in this year's India-U.S. naval exercises off India's western coast, according to a joint statement issued after the official talks.

The Indo-U.S. exercises, launched in 2006, include air operations and sea control missions aimed at preventing piracy and countering terrorism at sea.

Abe arrived in New Delhi on Saturday for a three-day visit. He was the chief guest at India's Republic Day celebrations on Sunday.

Japan is keen to boost exports of atomic technology and other infrastructure to help revive its economy.

On Saturday, Singh said "our negotiations toward an agreement for co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy have gained momentum in the last few months."

Japan's sales of nuclear equipment and technology to India have been hampered by sensitivity in Japan over India's atomic tests and refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

India has announced a moratorium on further nuclear testing, but Japan also wants a clearer commitment from New Delhi.

India is seeking to cultivate closer ties with Japan and other Asian countries, while upgrading its military capabilities, partly in response to a perceived challenge from China and also neighbouring Pakistan.

Under the agreements, Japan will provide a loan for increasing power generation in India and help India enhance energy efficiency in telecom towers in the country.

Japan offered to help set up high-speed rail systems in India and the New Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project, the statement said.

Japan agreed to lend $113 million for reconstruction work in a northern Indian state devastated by floods last year, $14.6 million to a children's hospital in southern India and nearly $2 billion for the expansion of New Delhi's Metro train services, the statement said.

The countries signed another agreement for promoting tourism, the statement said.

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