In a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga on Monday expressed concern over “unilateral attempts" to change the status quo in the East and South China Sea, China’s recently-passed Coast Guard Law and the situation in Hong Kong.
China passed a law last month explicitly allowing, for the first time, its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels.
In the interaction which lasted for about 40 minutes, Suga and Modi affirmed their cooperation towards realising a free and open Indo-Pacific. They also agreed to steadily advance both Japan-India bilateral cooperation and Japan-Australia-India-US quadrilateral cooperation.
The Prime Ministers also talked about Japan-India relations and decided they would “continue their effort to materialise" the “Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership” through cooperation in security and defense, economic relationship including digital fields and people-to-people exchanges.
During their discussion on the current regional situation, Suga expressed concern over “unilateral attempts" to change the status quo in the East and South China Sea, China’s Coast Guard Law, the situation in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
PM Suga and PM Modi had a fruitful telephone conversation. Discussed our important roles for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and agreed to further enhance Japan-India strategic partnership as well as Quad cooperation. Also exchanged views on regional and global issues.— Satoshi Suzuki (@EOJinIndia) March 9, 2021
The Indo-Pacific has emerged as the current region of geopolitics with the China’s territorial and maritime ambitions on display. With its recent meetings, the Quad grouping is being speculated as a possible counter to Beijing.
Meanwhile, the two leaders also welcomed the progress on the high-speed rail project and the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation on specified skilled workers.
Amid the deteorating condition in Myanmar after a coup by the military group ‘Junta’, Modi and Suga both expressed grave concerns over the scenario and said they would closely work together in the matter.