India, Japan agree to boost defence, security cooperation

    By IANS,

    New Delhi: India and Japan Saturday agreed to boost defence and security cooperation and inked eight agreements as visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged another tranche of 200 billion yen infrastructure loans during talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here.

    The Indian prime minister described the ties as a “partnership defined by mutual respect. It is founded on shared values. And it is increasingly driven by expanding cooperation”.

    The two sides launched a security dialogue – between the secretary-general of National Security Secretariat of Japan and India’s national security advisor. They also “reaffirmed their determination to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation”.

    Manmohan Singh described Japan as “at the heart of our Look East Policy” and said the partnership between “a strong and economically resurgent Japan and a transforming and rapidly growing India can be an effective force of good for the region and the world”.

    Towards realising this “responsibility”, both have begun “crafting a new global and strategic partnership for the new century”, he said.

    He said both are “working together promoting maritime security and advancing our energy security. Together, and with other countries in the region and beyond, we seek an open, balanced, inclusive and rule-based regional architecture that fosters regional peace, stability and prosperity”.

    The statement comes in the backdrop of increased muscle-flexing by China in the South China Sea and mounting tensions between China and Japan over some disputed islands in the East China Sea.

    Prime Minister Singh said: “Given the turbulence that defines our age, it is my firm belief that our partnership is essential for peace, prosperity and stability in the Asian, Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.”

    Abe, who will be the chief guest at the 65th Republic Day Parade Sunday, announced 200 billion yen in new loans for extension of the Delhi Metro rail project and two other projects. He also announced step up loans for “symbolic projects” of bilateral cooperation including the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor and for a high speed rail project.

    On the civil nuclear agreement, Abe said both sides have agreed to continue talks for “early conclusion of the agreement”.To promote people to people contacts, Japan also announced short term multiple entry visas for Indians and to promote educational and academia exchanges.

    Manmohan Singh said the Joint Working Group on the US-2 amphibian aircraft has met to explore the modalities of cooperation on its use and co-production in India. Both sides are also working towards increasing cooperation in the area of advanced technologies.

    He said Japan is a “privileged partner” in India’s most ambitious projects for world class infrastructure, – the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, IIT Hyderabad and the planned Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor.

    Both sides inked eight agreements, including to boost tourism and for harmonising standards between the two countries.

    Earlier, Abe met President Pranab Mukherjee after his arrival in the afternoon. He told Mukherjee that there has been steady progress in the strategic and global partnership between the two countries.

    Cooperation between the defence forces of the two countries will contribute to peace and security of the entire region, he said.

    With over 1,000 Japanese companies already in India, Abe said he would like to see trade and investment develop further. He has therefore brought along with him a large business delegation and said he also looks forward to developing exchanges in the academic field, he told Mukherjee.

    Mukherjee said that cooperation between India and Japan is important to ensure the security of sea lanes and uninterrupted flow of trade and added that India looks forward to working with Japan to expand and diversify trade to its full potential.