The Asian Age

Modi, Abe up­grade ties: Ja­pan will invest $ 35 bn

No civil nu­clear deal now, but talks speeded up Swipe at China: Modi de­plores ‘ ex­pan­sion­ism’

- AJAY KAUL

In­dia and Ja­pan agreed Mon­day to en­hance their de­fence and strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion to a new level dur­ing talks be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Ja­pan PM Shinzo Abe, who also de­cided to speed up ne­go­ti­a­tions on a civil nu­clear deal that could not be con­cluded now.

Strik­ing a good per­sonal chem­istry, the two lead­ers had “very fruit­ful” and “mean­ing­ful” ex­changes, after which Mr Abe an­nounced dou­bling of Ja­pan’s pri­vate and pub­lic in­vest­ments in In­dia to about $ 35 bil­lion in the next five years.

The talks at the Akasaka Palace ( State Guest House) came on the third day of Mr Modi’s first ma­jor bi­lat­eral visit out­side South Asia. Mr Abe had gone the ex­tra mile in re­ceiv­ing his old friend in Ky­oto on Satur­day and spent the week­end with him on a tour of two an­cient Bud­dhist tem­ples, be­sides host­ing a ban­quet.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, at an in­ter­ac­tion with business lead­ers, Mr Modi de­plored the “ex­pan­sion­ist” ten­den­cies among coun­tries which “en­gage in encroachme­nt” and “in­trude” into the seas of oth­ers, com­ments that were seen as a veiled but clear ref­er­ence to China.

At the sum­mit talks, the two na­tions de­cided to raise their re­la­tion­ship to a Spe­cial Strate­gic Global Part­ner­ship, to em­pha­sise that a de­vel­oped In­dia and a pros­per­ous Ja­pan was im­por­tant for Asia and for global peace and se­cu­rity.

“This is not just rais­ing the re­la­tion­ship from one cat­e­gory to another... Our re­la­tion­ship is not only re­gional in its frame­work, but will have a global im­pact,” said Mr Modi.

While agree­ing on greater co­op­er­a­tion in de­fence goods and tech­nol­ogy, the two sides de­cided to ex­pe­dite talks on modal­i­ties for the sale of Ja­panese US- 2 am­phib­ian air­craft.

“The two Prime Min­is­ters reaf­firmed the im­por­tance of de­fence re­la­tions be­tween In­dia and Ja­pan in their strate­gic part­ner­ship and de­cided to up­grade and strengthen them,” a joint state­ment is­sued after the talks said.

On the civil nu­clear deal, that was ear­lier ex­pected to be fi­nalised dur­ing the visit, both Mr Modi and Mr

Pro­mo­tion Part­ner­ship for de­vel­op­ment of projects, in­clud­ing in­fra­struc­ture and the build­ing of smart ci­ties. The five- year pe­riod will also see the dou­bling of the pres­ence of Ja­panese firms in In­dia, Mr Abe said.

The Ja­panese PM said that as an ex­am­ple of Indo-Ja­pan co­op­er­a­tion, Tokyo will help In­dia in pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial, tech­ni­cal and op­er­a­tional support to in­tro­duce bul­let trains, a project that Mr Modi has been ac­tively pur­su­ing.

Co­in­cid­ing with the sum­mit, Ja­pan re­moved six In­dian space and de­fencere­lated en­ti­ties from its for­eign end user list. Mr Modi ap­pre­ci­ated this decision and said both coun­tries were look­ing for­ward to en­hanced trade and col­lab­o­ra­tion in high- end tech­nol­ogy.

The six com­pa­nies re­moved from Ja­pan’s end user list can now en­ter into trans­ac­tions in­volv­ing sen­si­tive dual- use equip­ment, tech­nol­ogy and soft­ware. “We have to de­cide if we want to have ‘ vikas vaad’ ( de­vel­op­ment) or ‘ vis­tar vaad’ ( ex­pan­sion­ism) which leads to dis­in­te­gra­tion. Those who follow the path of Bud­dha and have faith in ‘ vikas vaad’, they de­velop... But we see those hav­ing ideas of the 18th cen­tury en­gage in en­croach­ments and en­ter seas ( of oth­ers),” Mr Modi said at the business event.

He did not name any coun­try, but the com­ments may be seen as tar­get­ing China, which is en­gaged in ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes with a num­ber of its neigh­bours, in­clud­ing In­dia, Ja­pan and some oth­ers in­clud­ing Viet­nam.

Thank­ing Mr Abe for giv­ing him an op­por­tu­nity to make Ja­pan his first bi­lat­eral visit out­side South Asia, Mr Modi said: “We both have de­cided to raise the re­la­tion­ship to a spe­cial strate­gic and global part­ner­ship by giv­ing it a spe­cial em­pha­sis.”

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