Japan PM Fumio Kishida meets Modi, says will announce new Indo-Pacific plan

Visiting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday that he had a “good discussion” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that he had conveyed his country’s commitment to strongly uphold the international order based on the rule of law.

Kishida, who held a bilateral meeting with Modi after arriving in the morning, said, “As the world is standing at the history’s turning point fraught with difficulties, what role Japan and India should play?”

Modi also echoed Kishida as he said the ties between India and Japan were not only beneficial for the two countries, but also important for the stability of the Indo-Pacific region.

Kishida said the two leaders concurred on a range of issues including food security, climate and energy, fair and transparent development finance.

He also welcomed the “concrete progress” in the security cooperation. He mentioned the successful conduct of the first fighter jet exercise, Veer Guardian, in January in Japan. This was followed by the 4th Dharma Guardian army exercise, which was conducted for the first time in Japan. In November last year, India took part in the International Fleet Review in Japan and the Malabar exercise off the coast of Japan. This was preceded by the Japan India Maritime Exercise between the two navies in September.

Modi talked about India’s presidency of the G20 and Japan chairing the G7 grouping, and said that it was the best opportunity to work together on priorities of both sides for global good. He said he briefed Prime Minister Kishida extensively about priorities of the Indian presidency of the G20.

The prime minister said the India-Japan special strategic and global partnership was based on the democratic principles and respect for international rule of law and that it was important for the Indo-Pacific as well.

Japanese PM Fumio Kishida in Delhi
 Japan PM Fumio Kishida with Rajeev Chandrasekhar. (PTI)

Modi said the two sides reviewed progress in bilateral relations especially in areas of defence, digital technology, trade and investment and health. He said both sides also discussed the importance of reliable supply chains for semiconductors and other critical technologies.

Kishida said Tokyo’s economic cooperation with New Delhi continued to grow rapidly and that it would not only support further development of India but create significant economic opportunities for Japan. “I will unveil today on Indian soil my plan for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Kishida said.

Kishida’s visit comes exactly a year after he came to India against the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war. The Russia-Ukraine war and its impact on geopolitics is an important area of discussion, since there are divergences in the approaches of Delhi and Tokyo. Tokyo is firmly with the Western bloc, led by the US, on this issue.

India-Japan relations were elevated to a “global partnership” in 2000, “strategic and global partnership” in 2006 and “special strategic and global partnership” in 2014.

Regular annual summits have been held between India and Japan since 2006, the last having been held in March 2022 in New Delhi.

“Japan is a very close partner with which we have both an annual summit and a 2+2 foreign and defence ministerial meeting. Our partnership encompasses a wide range of areas, ranging from defence and security, trade and investment, science and technology, education, healthcare, critical and emerging technologies and several others,” a source said.

Last year, Modi and Kishida met three times—Kishida visited India for the 14th annual summit on March 19, and Modi visited Tokyo in May for the Quad summit and in September for the state funeral of former prime minister Shinzo Abe.

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