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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on two-day visit to India starting today; here’s what’s on the agenda

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Since the last India-Japan summit in March 2022, now is an important time to contribute bilaterally, as both New Delhi and Tokyo hold the presidencies of the G20 and G7 respectively.

Kishida has said a new plan for free and open Indo-Pacific will be announced during his two-day visit to India and will present concrete ideas about its future at “this historic turning point”.

According to the Japan PMO’s official Twitter handle, ‚ÄúThis year, Japan holds the presidency of the G7, while India presides over the G20. Prime Minister Modi and I will exchange views on the role our two countries should play in solving growing international challenges.”

The Prime Minister’s office also added: “I also intend to further strengthen the special strategic and global partnership between India and Japan. Moreover, during my stay in India, I will announce a new plan regarding the free and open Indo- Pacific (FOIP). I will state in concrete terms how I feel about what the future should look like for the free and open Indo-Pacific, which is at a historic turning point.”

Earlier on March 10, he had said, “As leaders of the G-7 and G-20, I want us to communicate closely to strengthen cooperation.”

The partnership between the two countries spans multiple areas such as defense and security, trade and investment, S&T, education, healthcare, and critical and emerging technologies.

Kishida’s visit to India will allow the two nations to work on converging interests on key global challenges, such as food and health security, energy transitions and economic stability.

In a press conference on Thursday, Arindam Bagchi, the official spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA), said Japan is a “very important partner” and stressed that India looks forward to the exchange of views.

“We look forward to the visit of the Honorable Prime Minister of Japan on Monday. As you know, Japan is our very important partner. We have annual summits with them and this is part of it. They are also partners in plurilateral and multilateral constructions, so we look forward to a rich discussion. We look forward to the exchange of views,” the MEA spokesperson had said.

“Prime Minister had gone to Japan last year. Prime Minister Kishida had come here, so we look forward to continuing those discussions, but what will be the talking points, what will be the results, let the leaders talk about it. I think it quite far is too early to judge that,” said Arindam Bagchi.

However, he has not disclosed details of the talking points of the discussion that will take place between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will visit India from March 20 to 21. During the visit, he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two leaders will discuss bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest, the State Department said in an official press release on March 10.

India and Japan share ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’. India-Japan relations were elevated to ‘Global Partnership’ in 2000, to ‘Strategic and Global Partnership’ in 2006 and to ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ in 2014.

Annual summits between India and Japan have been regularly held since 2006 (the last annual summit was held in March 2022 in New Delhi).

Japan is a very close partner with whom we have both an annual summit and a 2 2 ministerial meeting of Foreign Affairs and Defense. with which India has an annual summit and a 2 2 Foreign Affairs and Defense ministerial meeting.

New Delhi and Tokyo are also part of the Quadrilateral Strategic Dialogue (QUAD), alongside Australia and the US. It is a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan and the United States maintained through talks between member states. The Quad is committed to working with regional allies who support a free and open Indo-Pacific.

In addition, defense cooperation between the two nations has also emerged as one of the major areas of engagement.

The successful conduct of the first fighter jet exercise “Veer Guardian” in Japan between our two countries in January 2023 was an important milestone. This was closely followed by the 4th Army Exercise “Dharma Guardian” held in Japan for the first time.

Significant progress has been made in maritime security cooperation, including naval-naval cooperation, with a large number of exercises. In November last year, India participated in the International Fleet Review in Japan and the Malabar exercise off the coast of Japan. This was preceded by the JIMEX between our two navies in September.

In terms of commercial and economic ties, bilateral trade between India and Japan last year was $20.75 billion, the largest ever.

Japan is also the fifth largest investor in India as a large number of Japanese companies are exploring opportunities in India across various industries.

In addition, India and Japan have an Industrial Competitiveness Partnership (IJICP) under which both countries work together to promote industrial cooperation between the two countries.

A roadmap under the India-Japan Industrial Competitiveness Partnership (IJICP) was launched at the annual summit in New Delhi in March 2022.

The meeting of the IIJICP was held in Tokyo on February 28, 2023. The meeting was co-chaired by the Secretary of DPIIT from the Indian side and the Deputy Minister of International Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry from the Japanese side.

Japan and India launched a clean energy partnership at the annual summit last year. It aims to promote energy cooperation between Japan and India through diverse and realistic energy transitions using all energy resources and technologies to ensure energy security, carbon neutrality and economic growth.

(With input from agencies)


Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.