India and Japan have agreed to boost defence ties and inked eight agreements with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, pledging another tranche of infrastructure loans worth 200 billion yen, during his talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.
At the end of the delegation-level talks, Singh described the ties with Japan as “at the heart of our Look East Policy” and said the partnership between “a strong and economically resurgent Japan and a transforming and rapidly growing India can be an effective force of good for the region and the world”.
The two sides launched a security dialogue between the secretary-general of the National Security Secretariat of Japan and India’s national security advisor.
Abe, who is the first Japanese prime minister to be the chief guest at the 65th Republic Day Parade, announced 200 billion yen in new loans for extension of the Delhi Metro project and two other projects. He also announced step-up loans for “symbolic projects” of bilateral cooperation, including the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and for a high-speed rail project.
On the civil nuclear agreement, the visiting leader said both sides have agreed to continue talks for an “early conclusion of the agreement”.To promote people-to-people contacts, Japan also announced short-term multiple entry visas for Indians to promote educational and academia exchanges.
The two countries signed eight pacts, of which half were connected to Japanese aid, indicating that soft loans and outright grants will continue to remain an integral component of Tokyo?s strategy of reaching out to New Delhi. Abe held out the promise of more aid, of which 70 % will go for phase III of the Delhi Metro project.
According to the joint statement released at the end of talks, two leaders welcomed the expansion of the bilateral currency swap arrangement to $50 billion from $15 billion and signing of a contract for its entry into force in January this year.