In a defining speech in New Delhi, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida unveiled the updated version of Tokyo’s Indo-Pacific initiative that envisages an “indispensable role” for India against the backdrop of shared threat perception from Chinese aggressiveness.
Mr Kishida, who is on a twenty-four-hour trip to Delhi, stressed that he hopes to promote a vision of free and open Indo-Pacific which includes Japan’s assistance to emerging economies, support for maritime security, a provision of coast guard patrol boats and equipment and other infrastructure cooperation.
In his big-picture speech organized by Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), India’s preeminent think tank on April 20, PM Kishida sought India’s cooperation in implementing Japan’s new Indo-Pacific ambition for “free and open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP). Mr Kishida termed his visit to India as a “destiny,” which underscored special place he has for New Delhi in his foreign policy vision.
With an eye on China and the region, the Japanese leader called India “an indispensable partner” in his Indo-Paciifc vision. “I believe that Japan and India are in an extremely unique position in the current international relations and, furthermore, in the history of the world.” Japan and India have a great responsibility for maintaining and strengthening a free and open international order based on the rule of law, he said.
“The overarching message emanating from Mr Kishida’s speech was India’s indispensability to realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific through a dynamic and proactive partnership between India and Japan,” said Manish Chand, CEO, Centre for Global India Insights, a think tank focused on global affairs and India Writes Network.
“His repeated emphasis on shaping a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” based on the rule of law, and free from aggression was a veiled attack on China’s way of functioning. Significantly, the Japanese leader enunciated his idea of the Indo-Pacific Way of doing things, as opposed to the Chinese way,” said Mr Chand.
Issues related to Indo-Pacific also featured prominently in bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart.
Summarizing the discussion, Mr Modi said: “Strengthening this partnership is not only important for both our countries, it also promotes peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”
“In our conversation today, we have reviewed the progress made in our bilateral relations. We exchanged views on Defence Equipment and Technology collaboration, Trade, Health, and Digital partnership. We also had a fruitful discussion on the importance of reliable supply chains in semiconductor and other critical technologies.”
“Last year, we had set a target of Japanese investment of 5 trillion yen in India in the next 5 years, that is, three lakh twenty thousand crore rupees. It is a matter of satisfaction that there has been good progress in this direction.
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