India, Japan set up forum for bilateral collaboration under ‘Act East’ policy

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New Delhi | Published: December 7, 2017 5:59:06 AM

The two sides agreed to work in a much more substantive way in India’s North-East, said foreign secretary S Jaishankar

Act East policy, India, Japan,  S JaishankarThe two sides agreed to work in a much more substantive way in India’s North-East, said foreign secretary S Jaishankar (PTI)

India and Japan have set up an ‘Act East Forum’ to provide a platform for bilateral collaboration under India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and Japan’s ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’. According to an official statement by the ministry of external affairs, “In pursuance of the memorandum of cooperation to establish the India-Japan Act East Forum signed on September 14 during the visit of Prime Minister Abe to India, Ministry of External Affairs and Embassy of Japan held the first joint meeting of the Forum on December 5.” Foreign secretary S Jaishankar and Japanese ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu co-chaired the meeting. “The Act East Forum aims to provide a platform for India-Japan collaboration under the rubric of India’s Act East Policy and Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy,” the statement said. Delegates from both sides, including the northeastern states, discussed the areas of possible cooperation with Japan such as connectivity, road infrastructure, tourism, electricity, people-to-people exchange and capacity development. The Japanese side explained its efforts to support disaster management. The Act East Forum will identify specific projects for economic modernisation of India’s northeastern region (NER) including those pertaining to connectivity, developmental infrastructure and industrial linkages, as well as people-to-people contacts through tourism, culture and sports-related activities. In his inaugural speech, Japan’s ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu said, “Japan places special focus on cooperation in the northeastern region (NER) as the region is located where Japan’s ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’ and India’s ‘Act East Policy’ converge and as the region is important in terms of connectivity with South Asia, Southeast Asia and BIMSTEC countries.” At the summit, Jaishankar said, “We agreed to work in a much more focused and substantive way in the North-East. To that end, we agreed on an India-Japan Act East Forum which will essentially explore the possibilities of involving Japan in northeastern infrastructure.”

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