Sushma sees optimism in ties with Japan, Both sides want stable Indo-Pacific

India and Japan on Thursday called for a peaceful, stable, free and prosperous Indo-Pacific region with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj asserting that “there is optimism on both sides” about the potential of future ties.

“The Special Strategic and Global Partnership between our two countries that was established during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s landmark visit to Japan in 2014, has been constantly strengthened through our mutual efforts. There is optimism on both sides about the potential of our future ties,” Ms Swaraj said addressing the media on the sidelines of the 9th India-Japan Strategic Dialogue in Tokyo.

“Our Special Strategic and Global Partnership has acquired a broader significance in the current global context. Our growing convergence on economic and strategic issues is important for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” she said in presence of her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono.

She also said, “India has emerged as the fastest-growing large economy in the world. It is a global hub for manufacturing and innovation”.  Under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership, India is strongly committed to improving the “ease of doing business”, she said.

Referring to her discussions with the Japanese Foreign Minister, she said, “In my discussions with Foreign Minister Kono, I emphasized that in India’s transformational journey, we regard Japan as a natural partner”.

“We believe that there is vast scope to combine our relative advantages, whether of capital, technology or human resources,” she said and referred to Indian government’s flagship initiatives such as Smart City, Digital India, Start Up India and said these initiatives always welcome “Japan’s entrepreneurs with new opportunities”.

“We are happy to note that Japanese investments in India, both public and private, are on the rise. Foreign Minister Kono and I had very productive discussions on how India and Japan are today working closely to build robust ties in High Speed Rail, Information and Communications Technology, Innovation, Space Science, Healthcare and Food Processing, to name just a few,” Ms Swaraj said.

On the occasion, Mr Kono said India was Japan’s most important partner in its Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy. “Our Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and India’s Act East Policy should be further merged,” he said.

It may be mentioned here that India and Japan, along with the US and Australia, are also part of the recently revived four-nation group of a quad that seeks to work for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.

Both sides also inked various papers and exchanged documents including on Mumbai Metro and developmental projects in the north east.


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