Terming India an “indispensable partner”, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Monday said that Japan will expand cooperation for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, adding that it is important to lead the international community in the direction of cooperation rather than confrontation and division.
“India is an indispensable partner and I believe India and Japan are in an extremely unique position in the current International relations and further in the history of the world. India is the largest democracy in the world. I have always viewed with great respect the way such a huge and diverse country as India has developed a democracy,” he said while delivering the 41st Sapru House Lecture.
He recalled that former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in 2016 delivered a vision called Free and Open Pacific (FOIP).
“Japan will expand cooperation for FOIP. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine obliges us to face the most fundamental challenge defending peace,” Fumio Kishida said.
Kishida stressed that the vision will be nurtured by the voices of different nations can be characterised as a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. He called it important to lead the international community in the direction of cooperation rather than confrontation and division.
We will promote Bay of Bengal- North East India Industrial value chain concept in cooperation with India and Bangladesh to foster the growth of the entire region
“I believe that this vision nurtured by the voices of different countries which can be characterised as our Free and Open Indo-Pacific. It’s becoming more important than ever towards the goal of leading the International community in the direction of cooperation rather than division and confrontation,” Kishida said.
Fumio Kishida said that Japan will collaborate closely with India in contributing to stability in the South Asian region.
He emphasised that Japan will promote the Bay of Bengal - North East India industrial value concept in cooperation with India and Bangladesh. He stated that Japan is looking at economic partnership with Bangladesh.
“Japan will collaborate closely with India in contributing to stability in the South Asian region ... Northeast India which is surrounded by land still has unexploited economic potential. We will promote Bay of Bengal- North East India Industrial value chain concept in cooperation with India and Bangladesh to foster the growth of the entire region,” Kishida said.
“India’s neighbour Bangladesh will soon graduate from being classified as a least developed country. We have already launched the joint study group on the possibility of an economic partnership agreement with Bangladesh,” he added.
Japanese PM Fumio Kishida said that the international community has entered an era in which cooperation and division are “intricately intertwined.”
He condemned the Russian offensive against Ukraine. He said that PM Narendra Modi also told Russian President Putin that “today’s era is not of war.”
“In the International community, a big balance of power change is occurring, shifting dramatically. The International community has entered an era in which cooperation and division are intricately intertwined,” Kishida said.
He further said, “I reiterate that Japan strongly condemns Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and will never recognise it. PM Modi too expressed to President Putin that today’s era is not of war. Japan opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo by force anywhere in the world.”
In his remarks, he also talked about Japan hosting the G7 Presidency and India holding the G20 Presidency.
He said, “This year as Japan hosts the G7 presidency and India hosts the G20 presidency, it’s my hope that by working together with ASEAN and many other countries, we will bring peace and prosperity to the international community which faces a time of challenges and the vision for achieving it is FOIP which is based on rule of law.”
Earlier in the day, Fumio Kishida, who arrived Monday in India for a two-day visit, held talks with PM Modi. Japanese PM extended a formal invitation to PM Modi to attend the G7 Hiroshima Summit, scheduled to take place in May this year.
The two leaders also took up the issue of challenges faced by the international community and decided to have close cooperation between G7 and G20 as the two countries are holding the presidencies of the summits, respectively.