Congratulating former Foreign Secretary Dr. S Jaishankar who has been appointed as the Minister for External Affairs in the new Modi cabinet, Japanese Foreign Minister Kono Taro spoke to him over a telephonic conversation and highlighted India's role and responsibility as a global power in the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
During the call, Kono congratulated Jaishankar on his appointment and invited him to the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting which is to be held in November.
Kono expressed his belief that India's role and responsibility as a global power were huge and influential towards the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific, an official statement read.
India, Japan, the US, and Australia kick-started a long-pending "Quad Coalition" to develop a new strategy for keeping the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence in November 2017.
China, laying claim on vast swathes of the South China Sea for itself, is rapidly trying to expand its military presence in the rich biogeographic Indo-Pacific region comprising of the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific ocean including the South China Sea. However, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan have counterclaims over the sea. China is also engaged in a dispute with Japan over the East China Sea.
Senior representatives of the four countries met in Bangkok, Thailand last week where they reaffirmed the commitment towards a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region based on shared values and principles.
Kono assured his Indian counterpart that the Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo would visit India later this year and that they would cooperate with India closer than before. He went on to state that he would like to coordinate the schedule to hold a "2+2" Ministerial Meeting as soon as possible which Japan and India agreed to hold.
Expressing his gratitude, Jaishankar said that he hopes to further expand the scope of cooperation with Japan with which India enjoys a special relationship, and looks forward to meeting Foreign Minister Kono soon.
Affirming his ties with his Japanese counterpart, Jaishankar took to Twitter to put forward communication between the two and expressed to further the vision of the Prime Ministers of both the nations with regards to working together.
S Jaishankar was appointed as Minister for External Affairs in the Modi 2.0 cabinet and is expected to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat as he was indicted to the cabinet without contesting in the elections. He previously served as Foreign Secretary from January 2015 till January 2018 following which he succeeded Sushma Swaraj as the Minister for MEA.
(With PTI inputs)