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Japan, India seek closer ties

By Cai Hong in Tokyo | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-14 07:34

PM Modi holds 8-km roadshow to welcome his counterpart Abe

Japan is expected to upgrade its talks with India involving vice-foreign and defense ministers to a ministerial-level dialogue during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's three-day visit, Japan's Kyodo News said.

The agency quoted Japanese government sources as saying that Abe, who started his trip on Wednesday, is eager to reach consensus with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, on the upgrading of the so-called two-plus-two dialogue.

India agreed in August to launch ministerial talks with the United States. Tokyo, which offered New Delhi high-level dialogue in 2014, has concluded that the time is ripe for pushing for the new framework again, Kyodo News said.

Japan has joined the annual Malabar maritime exercises in the Indian Ocean since 2015. Formerly a bilateral exercise India and the US began in 1992, Malabar has grown in size and complexity in recent years to address what the US Navy describes as a "variety of shared threats to maritime security in the Indo-Asia Pacific".

Japan and India have also conducted a bilateral naval exercise, the JIMEX, since 2012.

During a display of bonhomie, Modi held an 8-kilometer roadshow in Ahmedabad on Wednesday to welcome Abe.

Modi tweeted in English and Japanese on Tuesday, saying India truly values the relationship with Japan. "We look forward to further boosting our bilateral ties in a wide range of sectors," he said in one of his tweets.

The two leaders will review the multifaceted cooperation between Japan and India under the framework of their "Special Strategic and Global Partnership" and will set its future direction, said the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in a statement.

Abe will attend the 12th annual India-Japan Summit - the fourth between Modi and Abe - in Gandhinagar, the capital of Modi's home state of Gujarat.

He will also break ground for India's first bullet train linking the financial hub of Mumbai with the industrial city of Ahmedabad in western Gujarat.

Japan's investments in India have surged rapidly, flowing into areas ranging from automotive to infrastructure in the remote northeast. Japan is the only country to have been allowed to invest in Northeast India and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a testimony, Indian media said, to the growing camaraderie between the two nations.

Abe also wants to discuss with Modi the possibility of Japanese exports of nuclear power equipment and technology to India after a cooperation pact between the countries came into force in July.

The leaders are also trying to move forward on a plan for New Delhi to buy Japanese amphibious aircraft - ShinMaywa Industries' US-2 - in what would be one of Tokyo's first arms transfers since Japan eased the arms export ban in 2014, according to Reuters.

caihong@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 09/14/2017 page12)

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