Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida here and the two leaders agreed to further enhance bilateral security and defence cooperation, including in the area of defence manufacturing. Prime Minister Modi, who is here for the second in-person Quad summit, held a bilateral meeting with Kishida during which they underscored the importance of maintaining the momentum of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries.
Had an excellent meeting with PM @kishida230. This meeting gave us the opportunity to review the full range of relations between India and Japan. Our cooperation is rapidly rising and this augurs well for the people of our nations, Modi said on Twitter. PM @narendramodi had a productive meeting with PM @kishida230. The two leaders discussed several subjects which will further cement the bond between India and Japan, the Prime Minister's Office tweeted.
The two leaders had a productive exchange of views on enhancing bilateral relations in various spheres as well as on some regional and global issues, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a press release. They agreed to further enhance bilateral security and defence cooperation, including in the area of defence manufacturing.
The two leaders concurred that the next 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting may be held in Japan at the earliest, it said, adding that the two leaders appreciated the growing economic ties between the two countries. They agreed that both sides should work jointly towards implementing their decision to have 5 trillion yen (USD 39.3 billion) in public and private investment and financing from Japan to India in the next five years, the MEA said.
Modi highlighted the steps taken by India to improve ease of doing business, logistics through the Gati Shakti' initiative and urged Kishida to support greater investments by Japanese companies in India. Such investments would help in creating resilient supply chains and would be mutually beneficial. In this context, Prime Minister Modi appreciated that Japanese companies were increasing their investments in India and that 24 Japanese companies had successfully applied under the various Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes, the MEA said.
The two leaders noted the progress in implementation of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) project and welcomed the signing of exchange of notes of the 3rd tranche loan for this project. They highlighted the increasing importance of information and communication technologies and agreed to encourage greater collaboration between private sectors of two sides in development of next generation communication technologies.
They also discussed possibilities of collaboration in critical and emerging technologies such as 5G, Beyond 5G and semiconductors. The two Prime Ministers also agreed to deepen cooperation in the area of clean energy including green hydrogen and encouraged more business-to-business collaboration, the MEA said.
They agreed to further boost people-to-people linkages. Prime Minister Kishida noted that such linkages should become the backbone of bilateral relations. They took note of the progress in implementation of the Specified Skilled Workers (SSW) programme and agreed to further scale up this programme, the MEA said.
Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of further easing of travel restrictions in order to facilitate quarantine-free entry into Japan for travellers from India carrying Covaxin and Covishield vaccination certificates. The two leaders concurred that the India-Japan Act East Forum was useful in prioritising development of India's North East Region, and looked forward to early implementation of various projects which were identified by the two sides during the Annual Summit, it said.
The two leaders exchanged views on recent global and regional developments. They noted the convergences in their respective approaches to the Indo-Pacific and reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, the MEA said. They welcomed the progress in the Quad's contemporary and constructive agenda such as vaccines, scholarships, critical technologies and infrastructure.
Kishida extended an invitation to PM Modi to visit Japan for the next Annual Bilateral Summit, which was accepted with pleasure, the MEA added. Kishida also hosted a dinner for Modi.
Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, during a media briefing, said: Both leaders undertook a comprehensive stocktaking of the entire framework of bilateral partnership to carry forward our cooperation in diverse areas, including in the field of defence manufacturing in India, skill development, partnership, trade and technology partnership cooperation, including for resilient supply chains in the region, and other areas. This is Prime Minister Modi's fifth visit to Japan since becoming Prime Minister and his second meeting with his Japanese counterpart Kishida, he said.
In fact, during the summit, both Prime Ministers underscored the importance of maintaining the momentum of regular high level exchanges between the two countries, he added. Prime Minister Modi, US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida and Australia's newly-elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday attended the second in-person Quad summit which took place under the shadow of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The summit also took place at a time when the relations between China and the Quad member countries have become tense, with Beijing increasingly challenging democratic values and resorting to coercive trade practices. India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvring in the region.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. In March last year, President Biden hosted the first-ever summit of the Quad leaders in the virtual format that was followed by an in-person summit in Washington in September. The Quad leaders also held a virtual meeting in March.
Australia will host the next Quad summit in 2023. In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence, amidst China's growing military presence in the strategic region.