Manmohan leaves Japan, heads to Malaysia

By Minu Jain, IANS,

Tokyo : Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday left for Malaysia on the second leg of his three-nation Asia tour after a three-day visit to Japan that saw the conclusion of negotiations on an all-encompassing economic agreement and the commitment to strengthen ties in all spheres.

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Manmohan Singh, who will be in Kuala Lumpur for three days before he leaves for Hanoi on the final leg of his trip, held extensive discussions with his counterpart Naoto Kan besides meeting a cross section of business and political leaders. The prime minister, accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, also had an audience with the Emperor and Empress of Japan.

“The tradition of regular high level dialogue is the hallmark of the India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership. Our annual summits have set the pace and direction of this partnership, which rests on the firm foundation of shared values of democracy, rule of law and respect for fundamental human freedoms,” the prime minister said in a statement, noting the “historic achievement” of negotiations being concluded on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

“I suggested to Prime Minister Kan that we redouble our efforts in progressing major infrastructure projects in India such as the Dedicated Freight Corridor project and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project. Both these are proceeding on schedule and will have a transformational impact on our two economies.”

The two leaders signed a joint declaration on a ‘Vision for India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership in the Next Decade’.

However, the civil nuclear deal with Japan was set for the long haul – even after the successful visit.

Given Japan’s sensitivities, India would not force the pact on Japan, the prime minister said. But the two countries also decided to maintain momentum and meet again next month to continue negotiations.

Manmohan Singh returns home Saturday.

(Minu Jain can be contacted at [email protected])