New Delhi [India], March 20 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japan counterpart Fumio Kishida on Monday exchanged views on defence equipment and technology cooperation, trade, health, digital partnership and also had a fruitful discussion on importance of reliable supply chains in semiconductor and other critical technologies.
The two leaders had "excellent talks" during Kishida's visit to New Delhi with PM Modi stating that strengthening bilateral partnership is not only important for both our countries, it also promotes peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
He said that the two countries had last year set a target of Japanese investment of 5 trillion yen (Rs3,20,000 crore) in India in the next five years and it is a matter of satisfaction that there has been good progress in this direction.
PM Kishida's visit assumes significance as India is chairing the G20 and Japan is chairing the G7.
Following talks between the two leaders, there was an exchange of notes between the Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan of tranche-IV JICA ODA Loan of JPY 300 billion for Mumbai Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR).
The two countries also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in the field of Japanese Language Education in India.
Personal rapport between the two leaders was visible during their visit to Buddha Jayanti Park in Delhi. In a special gesture, PM Modi gifted a sapling of Bal Bodhi tree to PM Kishida.
PM Modi shared a video on Facebook which showed Kishida eating gol gappas. He shared the video alongside the caption: "My friend Japan PM Fumio Kishida enjoyed gol-gappas."During his hectic schedule in Delhi, PM Kishida delivered the 41st Sapru House Lecture on "Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)" in which he termed India as in Indispensable partner.
Briefing about the talks between PM Modi and the Japan PM, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said the two leaders spoke about how India, Japan and other like-minded countries work together to address the challenges, particularly in the wider-expanse of Indo-Pacific.
Asked if Chinese aggressiveness was discussed by two leaders, Kwatra said the two leaders spoke about the ongoing developments in the region and also globally.
"Naturally, as part of those discussions, they spoke about the challenges that we face in the region. How India and Japan and other like-minded countries can work together to address those challenges and not just focus on challenges, but also focus on cooperation, particularly in the wider-expanse of Indo-Pacific.""How do you take the other countries of the Indo-Pacific together? That is cut across several domains. So, for example, how do you partner within the Indo-Pacific to build resilient and trustworthy supply chains, for example? How do you come together to mitigate some of the challenges that the development template of many of these countries within the Pacific face in terms of debt burdens etc? So all that formed part of a larger, a broad platform of discussion so far in the region, sub-regionspecifically, and the larger field of Indo-Pacific is concerned," he added.
Kwatra said that there was no discussion regarding the expansion of Quad between PM Modi and Kishida.
"All the Quad members are very clear in their mind that Quad needs to undergo a very-very appropriate phase of consolidation before we look to anything other than Quad." Quad includes Australia, India, Japan and the United States.
Kwatra said PM Kishida had extended an invitation to PM Modi for attending the G7 Leaders' Summit to be held in Hiroshima in May and it has been accepted.
In the joint press meeting after talks with PM Kishida, Prime Minister Modi said India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership is based on shared democratic values, and respect for the rule of law in the international arena.
"Strengthening this partnership is not only important for both our countries, it also promotes peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. In our conversation today, we have reviewed the progress made in our bilateral relations. We exchanged views on Defence Equipment and Technology collaboration, Trade, Health, and Digital partnership. We also had a fruitful discussion on the importance of reliable supply chains in semiconductor and other critical technologies," he said.
PM Modi said he and PM Kishida ave met several times in the last one year.
"And each time, I have felt his positivity and commitment towards India-Japan relations. And therefore, his visit today will be very useful to maintain the momentum of our cooperation," he said.
PM Modi said he outlined India's priorities during its presidency of G20"Our meeting today is special for another reason as well. This year India is chairing the G20, and Japan is chairing the G7. And therefore, this is the perfect opportunity to work together on our respective priorities and interests," he said.
"Today, I explained in detail to Prime Minister Kishida about the priorities of India's G20 Presidency. Giving voice to the priorities of Global South is an important pillar of our G20 Presidency. We have taken this initiative because we are a culture that believes in "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam", and in taking everyone along," he added.
The Prime Minister said that India-Japan Industrial Competitiveness Partnership was set up in 2019.
"Under this, we are increasing the competitiveness of Indian industry in areas such as logistics, food processing, MSME, textiles, machinery and steel. Today we also expressed happiness over the activeness of this partnership. We are also progressing fast on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail. I am also happy that we are celebrating 2023 as the Year of the Tourism Exchange. And for this we have chosen the theme 'Connecting Himalayas with Mount Fuji'.
PM Modi said he will have the opportunity to welcome Prime Minister Kishida to India again for the G20 Leaders' Summit.
"May this series of our talks and contacts continue like this, and may India-Japan relations continue to touch new heights," he said.
In his lecture at Sapru House, PM Kishida called India an "indispensable partner" and said that Japan will expand cooperation for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.
He said it is mportant to lead the international community in the direction of cooperation rather than confrontation and division.
"India is an indispensable partner and I believe India and Japan are in an extremely unique position in the current International relations and further in the history of the world. India is the largest democracy in the world. I have always viewed with great respect the way such a huge and diverse country as India has developed a democracy," he said while delivering the 41st Sapru House Lecture.
He recalled that former Japan PM Shinzo Abe in 2016 delivered a vision called Free and Open Pacific (FOIP).
"Japan will expand cooperation for FOIP. Russia's aggression against Ukraine oblige us to face the most fundamental challenge defending peace," Fumio Kishida said.
Kishida stressed that the vision will be nurtured by the voices of different nations can be characterised as a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. He called it important to lead the international community in the direction of cooperation rather than confrontation and division.
"I believe that this vision nurtured by the voices of different countries which can be characterised as our Free and Open Indo-Pacific. It's becoming more important than ever towards the goal of leading the International community in the direction of cooperation rather than division and confrontation," Kishida said.
Fumio Kishida said that Japan will collaborate closely with India in contributing to stability in the South Asian region. He emphasised that Japan will promote the Bay of Bengal - North East India industrial value concept in cooperation with India and Bangladesh. He stated that Japan is looking at economic partnership with Bangladesh.
"Japan will collaborate closely with India in contributing to stability in the South Asian region... Northeast India which is surrounded by land still has unexploited economic potential. We will promote Bay of Bengal- North East India Industrial value chain concept in cooperation with India and Bangladesh to foster the growth of the entire region," Kishida said.
"India's neighbour Bangladesh will soon graduate from being classified as a least developed country. We have already launched the joint study group on the possibility of an economic partnership agreement with Bangladesh," he added.
PM Kishida said that the international community has entered an era in which cooperation and division are "intricately intertwined." He condemned the Russian offensive against Ukraine. He said that PM Narendra Modi also told Russian President Putin that "today's era is not of war.""In the International community, a big balance of power change is occurring, shifting dramatically. The International community has entered an era in which cooperation and division are intricately intertwined," Kishida said.
"I reiterate that Japan strongly condemns Russia's aggression against Ukraine and will never recognize it. PM Modi too expressed to President Putin that today's era is not of war. Japan opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo by force anywhere in the world," he said.
"This year as Japan hosts the G7 presidency and India hosts the G20 presidency, it's my hope that by working together with ASEAN and many other countries, we will bring peace and prosperity to the international community which faces a time of challenges and the vision for achieving it is FOIP which is based on rule of law," he added.
PM Kishida arrived in Delhi on Monday morning for a two-day visit.
PM Modi said in a tweet later that the two leaders discussed ways to further peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.
"Held excellent talks with PM @kishida 230. We discussed boosting India-Japan ties in sectors like defence, healthcare, technology, and other issues. We also discussed ways to increase competitiveness in logistics, food processing, MSME, textiles and more," he said.
"Spoke to PM @kishida230 on India's G20 Presidency and how our presidency will give voice to the views of the Global South. We also discussed ways to further peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific," he added. (ANI)