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India, Japan to fast-track economic pact


Tokyo/New Delhi : India and Japan Friday held their third annual strategic dialogue in Tokyo and decided to fast-track negotiations on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna held talks with his Japanese counterpart Hirofumi Nakasone on a wide array of bilateral and global issues, including the intensification of economic and commercial ties, the global financial crisis and climate change.

The two countries also decided to push the dedicated freight corridor and Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor projects that have emerged as symbols of growing economic partnership between the two countries.

“We are making progress in our negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Foreign Minister Nakasone and I agreed on the necessity of concluding a high quality and mutually beneficial agreement,” Krishna told reporters in Tokyo after the meeting.

Climate change figured prominently in the discussions. The two countries agreed to work together for “an equitable and fair outcome” at Copenhagen summit in December which is expected to come out with a deal enhancing the Kyoto protocol with a new ambitious arrangement to cut down global carbon emissions.

India expects the new deal will ensure “that developing countries are able to continue their economic growth at an accelerated pace to give our people a better quality of life”, Krishna said.

Krishna, who began his two-day visit to Tokyo Friday, and Nakasone also discussed the agenda for Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso’s visit to India later this year.

Krishna stressed that India “will participate constructively in negotiations on nuclear disarmament”.

“Our consistent policy is to support a universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable regime for a nuclear weapon-free world. We also discussed recent developments in the Korean peninsula,” he said.

Krishna will call on Aso later Friday.