Friday, 16 November, 2018

Indian PM Modi arrives for summit with Abe

Chinese President Xi Jinping greets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prior to their talks in Beijing on Oct. 26 2018. ==Kyodo Chinese President Xi Jinping greets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prior to their talks
Glenn Montgomery | 30 October, 2018, 10:01

The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific.

During the first official visit to Beijing by a Japanese political leader in almost seven years, Abe and the Chinese leaders agreed on the principle of moving from "competition to cooperation" in a new era of relations between Asia's two biggest economies. "Prime Minister Modi is an outstanding leader of his great country". India and Japan also exchanged a Notes and Loan Agreement for the second tranche of Japanese official development assistance loan for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed railway project.

Concerns about China's expanding influence on the regional economy and US trade policy are also bringing Japan and India closer in their economic ties.

Relations with China are a major issue shared by Modi and Abe, as their cooperation might balance China's growing regional influence and military assertiveness.

In September past year, Abe paid a visit to Ahmedabad in Modi's home state of Gujarat in western India and attended a ceremony to mark the beginning of construction of a new high-speed railway employing Japanese bullet train technology to link the city and Mumbai.

On the economic front, the two countries have agreed to a Bilateral Swap Arrangement that would allow their central banks to exchange local currencies for up to $75 billion.

"Japan and India will take the lead for stability and prosperity in the region", he said.

Modi and Abe said that there is a need for stronger worldwide partnership in countering terrorism and violent extremism and called upon all countries to work towards rooting out terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and financing channels, and halting cross-border movement of terrorists.

Hailing India's "tremendous progress" in the digital infrastructure, Modi said 1 GB data was cheaper than the smallest bottle of cold drink in the country.

Modi urged Japan's medium, small and micro enterprises to explore business opportunities in India, promising a more conducive environment to consolidate bilateral trade ties.

China is a strategic and economic rival of India.

Japan and India also discussed joint infrastructure projects in the region, including Sri Lanka.

The PM also addressed the Indian diaspora in Japan during which he invited the Indian community in Japan to contribute actively in building a "new India".

After the luncheon, they toured a factory in the village of Oshino in the prefecture that produces industrial robots as the Indian leader had expressed strong interest in inspecting a plant that builds Shinkansen bullet train cars during a visit to Japan in 2016.

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