New PM’s First Foreign Port of Call Could be Japan
With economic resurrection to top the agenda of the next government, Japan could be the destination of the first standalone bilateral visit of new prime minister, as Tokyo’s support to boost infrastructure is likely to be tapped. While the new PM is expected to travel to Brazil in July for the BRICS summit, to New York for addressing the UN General Assembly in September, followed by the Asean summit in Myanmar and G-20 meet in Australia, both in November, a stand- alone bilateral visit to Tokyo by the head of the government is on the cards towards the later part of the year, a government source told ET. The purpose of the trip would be a bilateral annual summit. Such summits are held alternatively in India and Japan.
This visit would not only mark continuity in India’s policy towards Japan but also signify Japan’s importance for India’s economic and strategic needs. Japanese PM Shinzo Abe was the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day parade – the first Japanese premier to be given the honour. Abe, who wants to shed Japan’s pacifist image, is a votary of strong ties with India in the backdrop of heightened tensions with China. During his January trip the two countries decided to launch National Security Adviser-level dialogue and Japan was invited to participate in India-US joint naval exercise to be held this year in East Asia. Ties have prospered, particularly with Manmohan Singh at helm.
If Modi becomes the next PM, bilateral ties may receive a further boost as he has special ties with Japan during his tenure as Gujarat CM, when the US refused to give him a visa.