New PM’s First For­eign Port of Call Could be Ja­pan

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

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.

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