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Friday, June 21, 2024

PM Modi, Japanese PM expected to reaffirm commitment to free, open Indo-Pacific

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who arrives on Monday on a two-day official visit, will hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which the two leaders are expected to reaffirm their commitment to building a free and open Indo-Pacific in the face of an assertive China.

According to a Japanese statement, during his visit, Prime Minister Kishida is scheduled to hold a meeting with Prime Minister Modi “to discuss various key issues in the international community and confirm the cooperation between the G7 and G20 as Japan holds the G7 Presidency and India holds the G20 Presidency.

“In addition, Prime Minister Kishida is scheduled to exchange views regarding the deepening of the “Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership” and efforts toward the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”, it said.

The talks will cover “a range of issues” as the leaders look to further deepen the India-Japan strategic partnership, the Japanese government’s top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, said ahead of Kishida’s trip.

After holding talks with PM Modi and delivering press statements at Hyderabad House, the Japanese PM is to deliver the 41st Sapru House Lecture at the Sushma Swaraj Bhawan.

The visit of the Japanese leader comes as relations between Tokyo and Beijing have been strained over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which are controlled by Japan but laid claim to by China. Beijing’s hegemonistic moves in the South China Sea – strategic sea lanes through which a large chunk of global trade passes, has also added to the tensions.

In its new National Security Strategy (NSS) released in December, Japan has described China as “the greatest strategic challenge that Japan has ever faced.”

Kishida’s visit comes as Japan is holding this year’s chair of the Group of Seven. The Japanese PM will be looking to garner some level of support on the Ukraine issue India, which is holding the Group of 20 presidency. He is expected to invite PM Modi for the G7 Summit, to be held in May in Hiroshima.

“We, as this year’s chairs (of the two groups), will exchange views to strengthen cooperation,” Kishida told a meeting of the Japanese government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito bloc earlier this month.

PM Kishida will also announce a new plan to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific and rules-based international order, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hikariko Ono said Wednesday.

Kishida is considering delivering the new idea in his speech on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hikariko Ono said, adding the premier is also likely to explain to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi about the plan during their talks.

Kishida’s proposal would include the provision of nonmilitary equipment and infrastructure support for nations in the Asia-Pacific region that have been facing threats from Beijing’s military buildup in the South China Sea, Ono said.

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