Updated March 7th, 2024 at 20:44 IST

Japan India's 'Natural Partner' in Quest for Stability in Indo-Pacific: EAM Jaishankar

During his opening remarks at the 16th India-Japan FMs Strategic Dialogue, Jaishankar called 2023 a landmark year in bilateral ties between the two nations.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with his Japanese counterpart Kamikawa Yoko. | Image:X@DrSJaishankar
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Tokyo:  India sees Japan as a "natural partner" in its journey, development and transformation, and in its quest for peace, prosperity and stability in the strategic Indo-Pacific region, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday as he held "very productive” talks with his Japanese counterpart Kamikawa Yoko.

In his opening remarks at the 16th India-Japan Foreign Ministers Strategic Dialogue in Tokyo, Jaishankar also said India and Japan, as two major Indo-Pacific nations sharing values, histories and interests, have abiding stakes in peace, security, and prosperity of the region, and the "two sides are ready to play a responsible role commensurate to the needs of our times." He described 2023 as a landmark year in the bilateral relationship.

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"We see Japan as a natural partner in India’s journey, development and transformation, and in its quest for peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” said Jaishankar, who is here for the second leg of his four-day visit to South Korea and Japan.

India and Japan are members of QUAD - a four-member strategic security dialogue that also includes the US and Australia.

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"A great meeting with Japanese FM @Kamikawa_Yoko, as we co-chaired the 16th India-Japan FMs Strategic Dialogue in Tokyo today. Pleased to note the steady progress of our bilateral partnership in different domains. Discussed new and ambitious areas of expansion, including emerging technologies," Jaishankar said in a post on X.

"Also appreciated the stabilising role that our ties can play in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. Our exchange of views on the international situation was very useful. India and Japan will be steadfast partners as we move towards a multipolar world," he added.

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In a joint press statement along with Japanese counterpart Yoko, Jaishankar said the two sides had wide-ranging and forward-leaning discussions covering the entire gamut of the bilateral relations. "I also look forward to exchanging views on major regional and global issues in the remaining part of our dialogue," he said.

"We agreed on the need for new steps, many of which my colleague, the Minister spoke, to make this relationship prepared for, and responsive to, the emerging geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-technological trends, and as well to the growing demands of the people of the two countries to get to know each other better," he said.

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He said their talks provided strategic guidance to their teams to realise the vision of the India-Japan Special Strategic Global Partnership and the expectations that the top leaders of the two countries have of this partnership.

Stating that this round of the dialogue has been “very productive”, Jaishankar said the two sides have made good progress in their defence and security relations.

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“Today, just as we're meeting here in Tokyo, the Indian Army is conducting joint exercises with the Japanese Self-Defence Forces in Rajasthan. The three branches of our military and Coast Guard are productively engaged with the Japanese counterparts, with greater ease through the newly operationalized reciprocal partnership arrangement,” he said.

"Whether it is the developmental aspirations of the Global South, or the reform of the institutions and mechanisms of global governance, or fighting transnational crimes, or defending against disruptions to supply chains, cooperation between India and Japan has a world of possibilities,” he added.

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He said that there have been exchanges about cooperation possibilities in areas of jointness and new domains like cyber and space.

“We also took stock of progress in our defence equipment and technology cooperation framework. In economic cooperation, we see a lot of potential for the quantum jump of Japanese investment into India, especially from Small and Medium Enterprises as we enter a decade of growth,” he said.

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He said the two sides are seeking to realise their shared target of 5 trillion yen in terms of overall investment.

"Government of India remains committed to the continuous improvement in our infrastructure environment. I underlined the importance we attach to the timely execution of flagship projects like the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Railway, which is India’s first shinkansen project” he said.

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He welcomed Japan's development role in India's Northeast, saying it will be crucial in transforming the connectivity and industrial landscape of that region. “It will benefit not only two countries but also other countries in the neighbourhood through a network of forward and backward linkages. We further agreed to explore coordinated development partnership initiatives by our agencies in third countries,” he added.

"We also concurred on the need to work together to enhance each other’s economic security and supply chain resilience by taking a strategic view of trade and technology. In this context, we discussed possibilities in the semiconductor ecosystem, green technologies and digital payments by leveraging our complementary strengths," the minister said.

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The two sides also spoke about ways to enhance people-to-people engagement through education, tourism and culture.

"We extended India-Japan Year of Tourism Exchanges to another year in 2024, with the theme of "Connecting the Himalayas with Mount Fuji”, and agreed to hold an India Month and a Japan Month, in each other’s countries, later in the year," he said.

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Jaishankar said that he also spoke about the need for a more facilitative visa regime for Indian tourists and other citizens to travel to Japan.

"We also discussed the shared interest we had in providing greater avenues of mobility for Indian talent and for Indian skills to Japan. Expanding the scope of the existing arrangements, and helping promote Japanese language teaching and testing throughout the country would be a natural first step," he added.

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He said he was looking forward to receiving his Japanese counterpart in India for the next 2+2 ministerial dialogue.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Republic and was taken from a syndicated feed

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Published March 7th, 2024 at 20:44 IST