Indian Economy News

India, Japan agree to strengthen political and security ties

  • Livemint" target="_blank">Livemint
  • January 19, 2015

New Delhi: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday welcomed the increase by 15% of Japanese companies coming to India for business and investment during the past year in talks with her Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida.

The talks between the two ministers covered a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation pact, the possibility of Japan selling its US 2 amphibian landing vessels to India, the security situation in Afghanistan and the Asia Pacific region, a person close to the development said.

Swaraj “emphasized that Japan is a key partner in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India Initiative”—a programme aimed at boosting India’s manufacturing sector—and “highlighted the special arrangements for Japanese companies and banks under the Japan plus initiative” started following Modi’s visit to Japan in August-September, the person cited above said.

The Japan Plus initiative refers to a special panel of officials created by Modi to speed up Japanese investments in India.

Kishida on his part said that the Japanese government considered India “an important partner as reflected in his early visit to New Delhi being after the new government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was sworn in following the recent elections in Japan”, the person cited above said.

“He informed that India is now viewed as the most promising destination by Japanese companies and hoped that Abenomics and Modinomics would work together to achieve the goals of doubling Japanese investments and assistance to India as announced during Prime minister Modi’s visit to Tokyo,” the person said.

Swaraj and Kishida reviewed various infrastructure projects, including the western dedicated freight corridor and the high speed rail project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Both delegations also discussed possible projects that Japan could help develop in India’s north-east that would improve India’s connectivity with its South Asian and South-east Asian neighbours, the person said.

“The two ministers discussed bilateral political and security ties in detail and agreed to further strengthen relations in accordance with the special strategic and global partnership,” the person added.

Earlier in the day, speaking to a select audience at the Indian Council of World Affairs, Kishida said Japan was ready to fund developmental activities in north-eastern states of India, but refused to make any commitment regarding Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. “It is an Indian territory which is disputed by China,’’ Kishida said when asked about Japan’s reluctance to fund development projects in Arunachal Pradesh. His remarks came during the question-answer session after delivering a speech on “Special Partnership for the Era of Indo-Pacific” in New Delhi on Saturday.

In his speech, Kishida called on India to play an active role in the Indo-Pacific region and sought its support in protecting the safety and openness of sea lanes, saying it was vital for realizing the aims of the economic and strategic partnership between the two countries.

“We should assume more responsibility to protect open seas under our special partnership,” Kishida said later, adding: “We both have the ability and responsibility to protect safety and openness of sea lanes."

The comments refer to Japanese unease over Chinese claims over islands with Japan in the East China Sea.

Refering to India-Japan relations, Kishida said bilateral relations had “grown stronger in recent years”, and “should be further improved in the interest of the region”.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.