While Modinomics and Abenomics dominated the conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe during a private dinner in this historic city, the two leaders are learnt to have discussed China in great detail and how the India-Japan partnership can be a “force for good” for the region. They also agreed to work together for “peace, stability and prosperity” in Asia and the world.
This assumes significance since Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to visit India in the third week of September. In fact, Modi and Xi had a candid and useful conversation in July on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Brazil. Both India and Japan have long-standing border disputes with China, which have a deep impact on their relations.
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In an oblique swipe at the previous regimes, Modi told Abe that the India-Japan ties were “far below potential” and expressed hope that the “two sides would strive to achieve in five years the unrealised potential of five decades”. In their first one-on-one meeting, sources said Abe spoke with great enthusiasm and strong conviction about India and the importance of India-Japan relations for Japan and the region. Modi, at this point, described Japan as one of India’s “closest” and “most important partners” and spoke about “his own admiration and affinity” for Japan and his “high hopes” from the relationship.
They met at the Kyoto State Guest House, which was built in 2005 for the purpose of welcoming foreign guests, for helping them understand Japan and for deepening friendship with Japan. While this was their first meeting since May, the two leaders have had a rapport for many years now, since Modi visited Japan as the Gujarat CM.
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Sources privy to the discussions at the traditional dinner said both leaders spoke with “great optimism” about a robust future for India-Japan economic partnership. They spoke about the opportunities before both countries to inject “new momentum and energy in their economies”.
Abe, sources said, expressed confidence that — “under Modi” — India’s economic transformation would gather strong momentum. An economically resurgent India would be of “great strategic importance to the region and the world, and an inspiration for democratic forces around the world”, the Japanese PM is learnt to have said.
The two leaders also had an extensive exchange of views on the developments in the region and the world.