India, Japan to galvanise Modi-Abe agenda

Building upon the famed Modi-Abe bonding during their much-publicised meeting in August last year, India and Japan have moved into 2015 with an ambitious mandate to fructify the next steps in their multifarious relationship.
The foreign ministers of India and Japan are set to hold their next round of strategic dialogue as New Delhi hosts Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kashida, the first high-level visit from Tokyo after the elections in Japan that brought Shinzo Abe to power with a brutal majority.
During their talks on January 16, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Japanese counterpart are expected to review all aspects of the blossoming relationship, which has been galvanised with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal touch and investment in what the new dispensation in Delhi has identified as a major priority country for India in the years ahead.
The two foreign ministers will review the status of outcomes, including doubling of investment, during Mr Modi’s visit to Japan in September last year, Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesperson of India’s external affairs ministry, said ahead of the trip.
In the strategic sphere, the two countries are looking to collaborate closely in shaping an inclusive Asia-Pacific architecture, a strategic imperative which has been accentuated by China’s perceived assertiveness in the region.

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India’s FDI dreams

Billions of dollars in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) have been assured to India thanks to Prime Minister Modi’s successful foreign tours and the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Hopefully countries with more wealth and technology than us will help us create jobs. But in his efforts at gathering FDI, the Prime Minister is not any different from the previous government which also staged many road shows with union and state ministers, politicians and even the prime minister going abroad to woo foreign investors.

Everyone knows the advantages of FDI, but there are disadvantages also. One has to remember that FDI in the past has been capital intensive and not labour intensive. Foreign companies tend to use more technology to retain their competitiveness and flexibility than go for hiring more workers. Most are afraid of encountering labour problems. Millions of jobs, however, are needed in India and therefore there has to be a policy of encouraging labour intensive FDI. In mining industry, there is a danger of FDI harming the environment in their extractive manoeuvers. Hence India has to study carefully what kind of FDI it wants.

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Modi embraces Kyoto smart heritage city model for Varanasi

Varanasi, the holy Hindu city which Modi represents in the Indian parliament, will be developed as a ‘smart city’, using the experiences of Kyoto. Kyoto, home to over 2000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, is renowned for its ability to merge the modern with the ancient, and is symbolic of the development of Japan – where cutting edge technology is used to preserve their historic legacy. The Kyoto-Varanasi pact has set the stage for rekindling civilizational ties between India and Japan, which will deepen the spiritual foundation for the burgeoning multi-pronged modern-day partnership.

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