Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Thursday held talks on wide-ranging subjects including bilateral ties, regional and international issues and chiefly on terrorism. At the annual Inda-Japan summit held in Gandhinagar in Gujarat, the two countries vowed to strengthen cooperation in order to tackle terrorist groups such as the al-Qaida, Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed. A joint statement issued after the summit said the two leaders demanded Pakistan to initiate action against these terrorist outfits responsible for attacks in Mumbai (2008) and Pathankot (2016).
“They shared the view that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is a global scourge that must be forcefully combated through concerted global action in the spirit of ‘zero tolerance’,” the statement read.
Making clear that fighting terrorism was a top priority, the two leaders asked all countries to weed out terrorist havens, disrupting networks, slashing at the root of financing channels and stopping the cross-border movement of terrorists. The statement also said PM Modi and Abe asked all UN-member countries to implement UNSC resolution 1267 and other relevant resolutions dealing with the designation of terrorist entities.
Strengthening strategic ties
India and Japan have agreed to boost cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region as well with an eye on China, which has been displaying assertiveness in recent times.
“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,” PM Abe told reporters at a joint press meeting attended by PM Modi as well.
The recent Malabar naval exercise between the United States, Japan and India also came up at the press meet. PM Modi additionally referred to the civil nuclear deal that was signed by both countries last year allowing Japan to export nuclear technology to India, the first non-NPT signatory to get such an honour.
“We had signed a historical pact for peaceful use of nuclear energy during my visit to Japan last year. I am wholeheartedly thanking Japan’s parliament, its people and particularly Prime Minister Abe for its ratification,” PM Modi said.
15 agreements signed in various sectors
A total of 15 MoUs across various sectors such as connectivity, investment, civil aviation, science and technology, sports and skill development were inked between the two sides.
Some of these agreements are linked to strengthening cooperation in the field of Japanese language education in India, collaborating for disaster risk reduction, promoting development projects in the Northeast, allowing air carriers from both countries to operate unlimited number of flights to selected cities, promoting research collaboration in the field of life science and biotechnology and deepening cooperation between universities of both countries.
Japan’s investments in India jumped 80 per cent to $4.7 billion in 2016-17, said PM Modi.
Foundation stone laid for high-speed rail project
Earlier in the day in Ahmedabad, PM Modi and Abe jointly laid the foundation stone for India’s first bullet train project that will link the city with financial capital Mumbai.
“My good friend Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a far-sighted leader. He took a decision two years ago to bring high-speed train in India and to create a new India,” he said.
“I hope to enjoy the beautiful scenery of India through the windows of the bullet train when I come back here in a few years,” Abe said.
The bullet train project, costing Rs 1.10 lakh crore and funded partially by a loan from Japan, is expected to be completed by 2022. The train, that will have four halts between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, will complete the trip in two hours, down from nearly seven hours taken currently by the Shatabdi Express.
An institute, for which the foundation was also laid by the two leaders, will come up in Vadodara where around 4,000 people will be trained.