PM Manmohan Singh and his visiting Japan counterpart Shinzo Abe Saturday agreed to further deepen the strategic and global partnership between the two countries as two democracies in Asia sharing universal values such as freedom, democracy and rule of law. Singh said Japan was at the heart of India’s Look East policy.
The meeting saw Abe, who is the first Japanese PM to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations as chief guest, emphasize on the need for the two countries to contribute jointly to the peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world taking into account changes in the strategic environment, as a joint statement issued after the meeting said.
While China has so far refrained from making any adverse comment about Abe’s decision to accept India’s invitation to grace the Republic Day, Beijing’s likely response to Abe’s presence at the 26 January parade has been a subject of much speculation by international media. The Indian government has already clarified that the Republic Day parade is as much civilian as it is military.
The two countries signed as many as eight agreements including one for promotion of tourism and several others for Japanese soft loans and ODA to India.
In a media statement after the talks, Singh expressed satisfaction over political engagement and expanding defence and security cooperation between India and Japan. In this context, Singh acknowledged the announcement of Japan’s National Security Strategy and the establishment of the national security council (NSC) of Japan.
The two PMs expressed satisfaction with the launch of regular consultations between the secretary general of national security secretariat of Japan and India’s national security advisor.
While welcoming Japan’s participation in the Malabar exercise and the meeting to discuss co-production of US-2 amphibian aircraft, Singh also noted that the discussion between the two countries for a civil nuclear agreement had gained momentum. Both sides directed their officials to exert further efforts towards an early conclusion of the agreement.
Abe, however, stressed the importance of bringing into force the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) at an early date. Singh on his part reiterated India’s commitment to its unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing.
The two PMs also reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate in the rare earths sector and shared “the strong resolution” that the commencement of commercial production of rare earths by Indian and Japanese enterprises should take place at the earliest.
Abe reaffirmed that Japan would continue its official development assistance at a substantial level to encourage India’s efforts towards social and economic development. The two prime ministers welcomed the signing of the exchange of notes for yen loan totalling 11.390 billion yen for the “Uttarakhand Forest Resource Management Project” which would help reconstruction efforts in the wake of devastating floods that hit Uttarakhand in June last year, as well as the signing of the Exchange of Notes for grant aid totalling 1.495 billion yen for the Project for Improvement of the Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children, Chennai.
Prime Minister Singh also appreciated the pledge by Prime Minister Abe for the “Delhi Mass Rapid Transport System Project (Phase 3 (II))” for 148.887 billion yen, the “New and Renewable Energy Development Project (Phase II)” for 30 billion yen and the “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Energy Saving Project (Phase III)” for 30 billion yen.