September 26, 2020 1:57:53 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday spoke to the newly appointed Prime Minister of Japan, Suga Yoshihide, while senior officials of the Quadrilateral grouping — US, Japan, Australia and India — met through virtual mode at a time when Chinese aggressiveness is evident on the world stage. The officials said that a Quad ministerial meeting will take place later this year.
With an eye on China, Modi and Suga — in their first conversation — concurred that the partnership between the two countries is even more relevant in today’s times given the global challenges, including that of the Covid-19 pandemic. “They emphasized that the economic architecture of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region must be premised on resilient supply chains, and in this context, welcomed cooperation between India, Japan and other like-minded countries,” a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday.
At the Quad officials’ meeting, they also discussed a host of “issues on regional and global issues of common interest” — an oblique reference to Beijing.
In the context of the pandemic, the officials “underscored the importance of enhancing the resilience of supply chains and sharing best practices on how to combat the pandemic”, an MEA statement said.
“The officials reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region based on shared values and principles and respect for international law,” it said.
The officials reiterated their firm support for ASEAN Centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms, particularly the leaders-led East Asia Summit, in the regional architecture for the Indo-Pacific, and their readiness to work with ASEAN and all other countries towards realising a common and promising vision for the Indo-Pacific. They appreciated the Vietnamese chairmanship of the ASEAN and looked forward to the 15th East Asia Summit in November this year.
Following up on the last such official-level discussions in November 2019, and the ministerial engagement of September 2019, the officials exchanged views on ongoing and proposed practical cooperation in areas of connectivity and infrastructure development, and security matters, including counter-terrorism, cyber and maritime security, with the objective of promoting peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, the statement said.
During his call with Suga, Modi congratulated the Japanese PM on his appointment and wished him success in achieving his goals, a statement said.
The two leaders agreed that the India-Japan Special Strategic & Global Partnership has made “great advances over the last few years and expressed their intention to further strengthen this relationship based upon mutual trust and shared values”.
The two leaders “appreciated the progress made in the economic partnership between the two countries, and in this context, welcomed the finalization of the text of the agreement pertaining to specialized skilled workers”.
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