Indo-Pacific and military ties top agenda for the India-Japan summit says envoy

By: | Published: October 23, 2018 1:20 AM

Ahead of the annual Indo-Japan annual summit, Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu has said that cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and in the defence and security sector will be high on the agenda when leaders of both countries will meet later this month.

Indo-Pacific and military ties top agenda for the India-Japan summit says envoy

Ahead of the annual Indo-Japan annual summit, Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu has said that cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and in the defence and security sector will be high on the agenda when leaders of both countries will meet later this month. A mutual logistics support agreement might be signed at the end of delegation level talks.

During the third bilateral annual summit Oct 28-29, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will also review the connectivity projects in North Eastern region (NER).

At a briefing organised by the think-tank Brookings India, the Japanese envoy said that work is on national highways in the states of Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram. “Another road is being developed connecting the Assam-Bhutan border with the Meghalaya-Bangladesh border, ” he added.

As has been reported by FE earlier, developing North East is a priority for India and a key to promote its Act East Policy. The two leaders will also talk about investments in North East, where Japan has cooperated with a variety of development projects in North East, ranging from connectivity infrastructure such as roads and electricity, water supply and sewage, to forest resource management and biodiversity.

He referred to the joint statement issued last year issued at the end of the talks between the two leaders where India called for a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. According to the envoy the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional bloc has to play a central role in the Indo-Pacific region, a view that India also holds.

Besides the Malabar naval exercise which India has with the US and Japan, the two countries are for the first time ever as reported by FE ONLINE earlier, from Nov 1-14, the ground-based defence forces of Japan and the Indian Army will hold a joint exercise in Mizoram that will also include counter-terrorism exercise.

Soon the two countries are planning to have joint air force exercise too, the envoy added.

It may be recalled that in 2017, a quad comprising India, Japan, the US and Australia was revived that seeks to work for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. This quad a second meeting in June this year and the process is growing.

To a question if there has been any progress on India’s interest in the Japanese submarines, the envoy pointed out that there has been no progress yet as both sides are still talking.

On the US-2i the Japanese amphibian plane Hiramatsu said that: “We are also discussing a Japanese high tech amphibian aircraft also and I hope there will be progress made in this regard during the summit.”

According to the envoy, Japan is the largest investor in the infrastructure sector in India and also said that India offers a lot of business opportunities to Japanese companies.

“Prime Minister Abe says a strong India is in Japan’s best interest,” Hiramatsu said.

About the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), he said that Indian is an important partner for Japan during the discussions going on for this. RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement between the ASEAN countries.

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