India, Japan to work closely on connectivity

NEW DELHI • India has announced that it would work closely with Japan to promote connectivity, infrastructure and capacity-building in the regions that occupy the interlinked waters of the Indo-Pacific.

The announcement comes as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to pay a two-day visit to the country on Wednesday for the annual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The two countries are expected to sign a series of accords, including one on maritime cooperation, during the visit, India's The Statesman newspaper reported.

"Cooperation in civil nuclear energy and in defence are two domains that portend the future direction of our ties," said Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar at the India- Japan Colloquium that took place in New Delhi last Friday. "The difference that Japan can make to our nuclear industry can be quite substantive. Japan's openness to supply India with military technology reflects the high level of confidence that the two countries have developed in each other," he said.

Mr Jaishankar also spoke about the Asia-Africa Pacific Growth Corridor project under which India and Japan propose to develop quality infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific region. "The growing convergence of views between Japan and India has the capacity to drive Asia's economy and development and stimulate the global growth," he said.

The cooperation between the two countries is seen as an attempt to counter Beijing's China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a group of infrastructure projects that connect China's west to the Arabian Sea through Pakistan.

FUTURE DIRECTION

Cooperation in civil nuclear energy and in defence are two domains that portend the future direction of our ties.

FOREIGN SECRETARY S. JAISHANKAR, on the role that Japan can play in India's nuclear industry.

Amid increasing Chinese aggressiveness in the region and beyond on territorial and maritime issues, both India and Japan are seeking to send out a clear message to Beijing of their intent to stand by each other. The Modi-Abe summit is particularly significant coming days after Japan openly backed India during its recent military stand-off with China at Doklam.

The two leaders are also expected to jointly lay the foundation stone of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed railway as part of the agreement for the export of the "shinkansen" (bullet train) technology to India during the visit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2017, with the headline 'India, Japan to work closely on connectivity'. Print Edition | Subscribe