India and Japan on Thursday inked 15 agreements to intensify the strategic ties between the two countries, a statement from Minister of External Affairs said. Both the countries have also decided to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region where China is increasing its assertiveness.
Addressing a joint press conference with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe who is on a visit to India, Prime Minister Modi said that both the sides will closely cooperate on key global issues. “The range of special strategic and global partnership is not just limited to bilateral and regional sphere. We have close cooperation on global issues as well,” Modi said.
During the talks between the two leaders, India and Japan inked 15 pacts to give a boost to cooperation in various key sectors, including civil aviation, trade and science and technology. “We have just signed a joint statement which will serve as a milestone to open a new era for Japan-India relationship… based on that we will strongly promote Japan-India special strategic and global partnership to drive peace and prosperity for Indo-Pacific region and the whole world,” the visiting leader, Shinzo Abe said.
He also referred to the recent Malabar naval exercise in which both the countries had participated and said that cooperation would be further strengthened. “India, Japan and US conducted joint maritime Malabar exercise for the first time, based on strong ties of trust between PM Modi and President Trump. We will strengthen cooperation between India, Japan and United States,” Abe said. He also added that the two sides had agreed upon a Japan-India investment support road map.
Talking about the civil nuclear pact signed between both the sides, Modi said, “We had signed a historical pact for peaceful use of nuclear energy during my visit to Japan last year. I am whole-heartedly thanking Japan’s parliament, its people and particularly Prime Minister Abe for its ratification.” The agreement that allows Japan to export nuclear technology to India was signed when Modi had visited Japan in November last year. With this, India is the the first non-NPT signatory to have such a deal with Tokyo.
Referring to the most talked about project of bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, Modi said, “It is a major step. It is not just the beginning of high-speed rail. I consider this railway philosophy a lifeline (jeevan rekha), considering our future requirements.” He also said that a ‘cool box service’ will be started by India Post and Japan Post so that Japanese people living in India could easily order food from Japan.
PM Modi also talked about the various initiatives including in the areas of taxation, to promote economic growth and asked Japanese companies to take advantage of ease of doing business in India. He said Japan invested USD 4.7 billion in India in 2016-17 Japan which is 80 per cent higher than last year. Shinzo Abe, meanwhile said that Japan is committed to the Make in India scheme started by the government. Dear friend PM Modi is a far-sighted leader, he made a decision of making New India & chose Japan as partner, we completely support it. If we work together nothing is impossible
(With PTI inputs)