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India’s technological partnership with Japan, which has resulted in Maruti Suzuki cars and Metro rail systems in many cities, will now witness a third upgrade in the form of the high-speed rail system or bullet trains, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said Thursday.
Speaking at the Global Technology Summit 2017 organised by Carnegie India, Jaishankar said Japanese thinking on partnership with India has evolved to a stage where a larger and stronger Indian economy is seen as being in Japan’s strategic interest.
“Japan was responsible for two major technological upgrades in India — the Maruti and Metro — which had ripple effects on other sectors. It is no exaggeration to say that they helped change the modern Indian mindset and lifestyle,’’ the Foreign Secretary said during a session on Technology Diplomacy: Prospects for India and Japan.
“We are now poised for a third upgrade that combines the two — one associated with high-speed rail technology. Anyone with a feel for industry and technology will understand and appreciate the immense potential. Associated with it are the best practices for technology deployment including skills, training, safety, security and maintenance,’’ he said.
Jaishankar also said that there is clear evidence of Japan showing more interest in recent years in the economic progress of India through support for major infrastructure and connectivity projects in India and for skill upgrade across the country.
“Energy co-operation has been a significant growth area with dialogue now giving way to more practical co-operation. This ranges from energy efficiency in smart grids to plain coal and clean energy. The stage is now set for co-operation in nuclear energy where the participation of Japanese companies can make a big difference,’’ he said.
“India and Japan are two different societies, each with its own history, sociology and culture. In the past, the distance was accentuated by the pulls and pressures of politics. Today, in an era of growing convergences, the relationship has reached a level of closeness that could be called a special, global and strategic partnership,’’ he said.