Updated: September 11, 2020 7:38:32 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday had a 30-minute conversation with Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe, where the two sides welcomed the signing of a key defence pact.
This will be Abe’s last summit meeting with India, before he steps down. Late last month, Abe had announced that he would step down as a chronic illness has resurfaced. Abe, 65, was due to be in office till September 2021. He will stay on until his party chooses a successor, and will remain an MP.
The conversation took place between the two leaders at about 11.10 am IST on Thursday.
About the conversation, a Japanese Foreign ministry statement said that at the outset, Prime Minister Abe explained that he would resign from his position as Prime Minister and expressed his gratitude for the friendship and the relationship of trust built with Prime Minister Modi.
“Prime Minister Abe also noted the memories from their mutual annual visits. Prime Minister Modi responded by expressing his appreciation to all the efforts extended by Prime Minister Abe and by recalling the time they spent together,” the Japanese Foreign ministry statement said on Thursday.
With regard to the significant enhancement of Japan-India relations in recent years, the statement said Abe stated that both Prime Ministers took actions towards realising the vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific and the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between Japan and India was elevated to greater heights.
A valuable leader for India
Shinzo Abe has been a valuable G-7 leader for India, focused on strategic, economic and political deliverables, and not getting distracted by India’s domestic developments. New Delhi will now wait for Abe’s successor, who will have big shoes to fill.
“In this context, both Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India Concerning Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Indian Armed Forces (so-called “Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement”, or ACSA) on September 9. This agreement will facilitate the smooth provision of supplies and services between the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Indian Armed Forces. It will also promote closer cooperation between the forces on the ground, thereby contributing further to global peace and security,” the statement said.
In New Delhi, a Defence ministry statement said India and Japan signed an Agreement between the two countries concerning Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between the Armed Forces of India and the Self-Defense Forces of Japan. The agreement was signed in Delhi on Wednesday by Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and Ambassador of Japan Suzuki Satoshi.
This agreement establishes the enabling framework for closer cooperation between the Armed Forces of India and Japan in reciprocal provision of supplies and services while engaged in bilateral training activities, United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, Humanitarian International Relief and other mutually agreed activities, it said.
The agreement will also enhance the interoperability between the Armed Force of India and Japan thereby further increasing the bilateral defence engagements under the Special Strategic & Global Partnership between the two countries, the defence ministry said.
According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry statement, Modi reiterated his appreciation to Prime Minister Abe’s leadership for the advancement of the relationship between Japan and India. “Both Prime Ministers affirmed that the basic policy of Japan-India-emphasis remains unchanged, and concurred with each other that the two countries continue to work closely in such areas as security, economy, and economic cooperation including the high-speed rail project,” the statement said.
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