Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japan counterpart Fumio Kishida on Monday exchanged views on defence equipment and technology cooperation, trade, health, digital partnership and also had a fruitful discussion on importance of reliable supply chains in semiconductor and other critical technologies.
The two leaders had "excellent talks" during Kishida's visit to New Delhi with PM Modi stating that strengthening bilateral partnership is not only important for both our countries, it also promotes peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
He said that the two countries had last year set a target of Japanese investment of 5 trillion yen (Rs3,20,000 crore) in India in the next five years and it is a matter of satisfaction that there has been good progress in this direction.
PM Kishida's visit assumes significance as India is chairing the G20 and Japan is chairing the G7.
Following talks between the two leaders, there was an exchange of notes between the Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan of tranche-IV JICA ODA Loan of JPY 300 billion for Mumbai Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR).
The two countries also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in the field of Japanese Language Education in India.
Personal rapport between the two leaders was visible during their visit to Buddha Jayanti Park in Delhi. In a special gesture, PM Modi gifted a sapling of Bal Bodhi tree to PM Kishida.
PM Modi shared a video on Facebook which showed Kishida eating gol gappas. He shared the video alongside the caption: "My friend Japan PM Fumio Kishida enjoyed gol-gappas."
During his hectic schedule in Delhi, PM Kishida delivered the 41st Sapru House Lecture on "Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)" in which he termed India as in Indispensable partner.
Briefing about the talks between PM Modi and the Japan PM, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said the two leaders spoke about how India, Japan and other like-minded countries work together to address the challenges, particularly in the wider-expanse of Indo-Pacific.
Asked if Chinese aggressiveness was discussed by two leaders, Kwatra said the two leaders spoke about the ongoing developments in the region and also globally.
"Naturally, as part of those discussions, they spoke about the challenges that we face in the region. How India and Japan and other like-minded countries can work together to address those challenges and not just focus on challenges, but also focus on cooperation, particularly in the wider-expanse of Indo-Pacific."
"How do you take the other countries of the Indo-Pacific together? That is cut across several domains. So, for example, how do you partner within the Indo-Pacific to build resilient and trustworthy supply chains, for example? How do you come together to mitigate some of the challenges that the development template of many of these countries within the Pacific face in terms of debt burdens etc? So all that formed part of a larger, a broad platform of discussion so far in the region, sub-region specifically, and the larger field of Indo-Pacific is concerned," he added.
Kwatra said that there was no discussion regarding the expansion of Quad between PM Modi and Kishida.
"All the Quad members are very clear in their mind that Quad needs to undergo a very-very appropriate phase of consolidation before we look to anything other than Quad." Quad includes Australia, India, Japan and the United States.
Kwatra said PM Kishida had extended an invitation to PM Modi for attending the G7 Leaders' Summit to be held in Hiroshima in May and it has been accepted.
In the joint press meeting after talks with PM Kishida, Prime Minister Modi said India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership is based on shared democratic values, and respect for the rule of law in the international arena.
"Strengthening this partnership is not only important for both our countries, it also promotes peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. In our conversation today, we have reviewed the progress made in our bilateral relations. We exchanged views on Defence Equipment and Technology collaboration, Trade, Health, and Digital partnership. We also had a fruitful discussion on the importance of reliable supply chains in semiconductor and other critical technologies," he said.
PM Modi said he and PM Kishida ave met several times in the last one year.
"And each time, I have felt his positivity and commitment towards India-Japan relations. And therefore, his visit today will be very useful to maintain the momentum of our cooperation," he said.
PM Modi said he outlined India's priorities during its presidency of G20
"Our meeting today is special for another reason as well. This year India is chairing the G20, and Japan is chairing the G7. And therefore, this is the perfect opportunity to work together on our respective priorities and interests," he said.
"Today, I explained in detail to Prime Minister Kishida about the priorities of India's G20 Presidency. Giving voice to the priorities of Global South is an important pillar of our G20 Presidency. We have taken this initiative because we are a culture that believes in "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam", and in taking everyone along," he added.
The Prime Minister said that India-Japan Industrial Competitiveness Partnership was set up in 2019.
"Under this, we are increasing the competitiveness of Indian industry in areas such as logistics, food processing, MSME, textiles, machinery and steel. Today we also expressed happiness over the activeness of this partnership. We are also progressing fast on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail. I am also happy that we are celebrating 2023 as the Year of the Tourism Exchange. And for this we have chosen the theme 'Connecting Himalayas with Mount Fuji'.
PM Modi said he will have the opportunity to welcome Prime Minister Kishida to India again for the G20 Leaders' Summit.