India, Japan upscale ties, ink 15 pacts

japan-modi-abe-gujaratOpening a new era in their partnership, India and Japan have inked 15 pacts in diverse areas, including nuclear energy, clean energy, high-speed rail and infrastructural development.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe held wide-ranging talks in Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar on September 14 that will upscale economic and strategic partnership between two of Asia’s leading democracies.

Earlier in the day, the much talked about bullet train project linking Ahmedabad to Mumbai was jointly launched by the two leaders in Ahmedabad.

“We have just signed a joint statement which will serve as a milestone to open a new era for Japan-India relationship… based on that we will strongly promote Japan- India special strategic and global partnership to drive peace and prosperity for Indo-Pacific region and the whole world,” Mr. Abe said.

Against the backdrop of China’s increasing assertiveness in the region, India and Japan decided to expand their defence ties and jointly called for “achieving a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.” The strategic connect between India and Japan was detailed in the joint statement which envisages an alignment of Japan’s free and open Indo-Pacific strategy with India’s Act East Policy, joint exercises and enhanced collaboration in producing military hardware.

With Japan poised to play a critical role in transforming India’s infrastructure, the focus of the talks between the leaders of the two countries was on optimizing the potential of the economic partnership. In this regard the two countries signed a document that lays out the roadmap for accelerating Japanese investments in India. They also signed an Open-Sky pact under which the airlines of India and Japan can mount unlimited number of flights to the selected cities in each other’s countries.