Deepening cooperation in sectors including tourism, high-speed railways, automobiles, maritime security and defence trade will top the agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan starting November 11.
As part of a framework for smart heritage city programme between the two countries, an MoU is likely to be inked between the city of Kobe and an Indian city in the presence of Modi and his Japanese counterpart Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “The prime minister is expected to travel to Kobe city on a bullet train from Tokyo before flying out to India,” according to sources.
Incidentally, in 2014, a partner city MoU was signed by Indian and Kyoto mayor providing for cooperation in heritage conservation, city modernisation and cooperation in the fields of art, culture and academics.
As reported earlier by FE, the two countries are also looking to sign a bilateral nuclear cooperation pact during the visit. Such a treaty is expected to allow Japan to export nuclear power plants to India, giving a boost to Abe’s push to promote infrastructure exports as a way of fuelling economic growth. Both sides had reached a basic agreement on concluding the pact when they met in New Delhi last December.
Japan and India started negotiations on the pact in 2010, but the talks were suspended following the catastrophe at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.
Japanese ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu, at a recent interaction with mediapersons, had indicated that his country was looking at some ”concrete” action with India in maritime security.
India and Japan have established a mechanism to discuss maritime issues as they both want that status quo in the maritime domain should not be changed militarily and every nation should follow the international laws of the sea, the Japanese envoy said in an interaction with journalists organised by the Indian Association of Foreign Correspondents.
The envoy said Japan also wanted India to be part of its Indo-Pacific initiative which Prime Minister Abe articulated at the sixth Tokyo International conference on African Development (TICAD) held in Nairobi recently, the first outside Japan since the launch of the initiative in 1993.
According to Hiramatsu, Prime Minister Abe had briefed Prime Minister Modi about the Indo-Pacific initiative and asked his views when they recently met at Laos. The initiative is about how to connect Japan, India and Africa in maritime space and how to maintain undisturbed connectivity and freedom of navigation.