Wednesday, December 6, 2023

PM Modi, Japanese counterpart review bilateral ties, exchange views on Afghanistan

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga reviewed the multi-faceted relationship between the two countries and exchanged views on recent global and regional developments including in Afghanistan during first-in person meeting.

The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. This was PM Modi’s first in-person meeting with Suga after the latter took office. The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to advance efforts to facilitate the smooth and timely implementation of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) project.

The bilateral meeting comes a day ahead of the first in-person summit of the Quad, quadrilateral cooperation between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States. They agreed to enhance bilateral security and defence cooperation, including in the area of defence equipment and technologies, according to a statement of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

The two Prime Ministers expressed happiness at their first in-person meeting. They warmly recalled their three telephone conversations since September 2020, when Suga took office as Prime Minister of Japan.

Prime Minister Modi thanked Prime Minister Suga for his personal commitment and leadership, both as Prime Minister and Chief Cabinet Secretary earlier, in enabling great advances in the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership over the last few years. He congratulated Prime Minister Suga for successfully hosting the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games in the midst of a global pandemic, the statement added.

The two Prime Ministers welcomed the increasing economic engagement between the two countries. They welcomed the launch of the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) between India, Japan and Australia earlier this year as a collaborative mechanism to enable resilient, diversified and trustworthy supply chains.

According to the statement, Prime Minister Modi highlighted the need to develop bilateral partnerships in manufacturing, MSME and skill development. Prime Minister Suga informed Prime Minister Modi that in order to operationalize the Specified Skilled workers (SSW) agreement which was signed earlier this year, the Japanese side would be undertaking skill and language tests in India from early 2022.

The two Prime Ministers also discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to address it. They highlighted the increasing importance of digital technologies and in this regard positively evaluated the progress in the India-Japan Digital Partnership, especially in start-ups.

They exchanged views on further collaboration in various emerging technologies. Discussions also took place on climate change issues and green energy transition, and the potential for Japanese collaboration with India’s National Hydrogen Energy Mission.

The two leaders also welcomed the progress in bilateral developmental projects in India’s North Eastern Region under the India-Japan Act East Forum, and noted possibilities for further enhancement of such cooperation.

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