Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will set the future course of the strategic and global partnership between the two countries when they meet this week. The Japanese leader will begin a two-day visit on Wednesday, during which he and Modi will hold the 12th India-Japan annual summit in Gandhinagar in Gujarat. The summit takes place amid rising tension in the region following the nuclear test by North Korea and growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea. “The two leaders will review the recent progress in the multifaceted cooperation between India and Japan under the framework of their ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ and will set its future direction,” said Pranay Verma, joint secretary- East Asia, ministry of external affairs. India-Japan ties are on an upswing in a range of areas, including defence and security. In their annual defence dialogue last week, the two countries had resolved to collaborate closely in defence production, including on dual-use technologies.
Briefing media persons ahead of the visit, Verma said that “Japan is one of the few countries with whom we have annual summit. This is the fourth annual summit between Modi and Abe, 10th meeting between the two leaders.”
The highlight of the visit is a ceremony for a high-speed rail link using Japanese bullet-train technology. The Japanese Prime Minister will participate in the groundbreaking ceremony in Ahmedabad and hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Modi, later in the day.
The 500-km railway line will link Mumbai and Ahmadabad, with services planned to commence in 2023. India has plans to build high-speed railways focused on the four major cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
In 2016, Modi had travelled by shinkansen with Abe from Tokyo to Kobe to visit a bullet-train plant of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, a maker of shinkansen cars. Development of Northeast is a priority for India and a key to promote its Act East Policy. Japan has also placed a special emphasis on cooperation in Northeast for its geographical importance connecting India to Southeast Asia and the historical ties.
The two leaders will also talk about investments in Northeast, where Japan has cooperated with a variety of development projects, ranging from connectivity infrastructure such as roads and electricity, to water supply and sewage, to forest resource management and biodiversity.
The two leaders are meeting since Japanese Parliament ‘Diet’ approved a civilian nuclear cooperation treaty with India earlier this month. This pact paves the way for Tokyo to export nuclear power equipment and technology to New Delhi. As reported earlier by FE, several Japanese companies including Hitachi and Mitsubishi have expressed their intent to the Japanese government for exploring Indian market for the commercial interests related to building of the nuclear reactors.
The agreement allows Japanese firms to supply nuclear materials, equipment and technologies to India for “peaceful and non-explosive purposes.” The companies may also provide support services for designing, building and operating reactors. Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono on August 17 attended the “two-plus-two” talks in Washington, committing Japan to provide $500 million to strengthen maritime security in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific coast countries.