Tokyo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Monday held "fruitful and extensive" talks during which they discussed issues of bilateral interest, the situation in the Indo-Pacific region and threats posed by nuclear terrorism as the two sides signed several agreements including on a high speed rail project and naval cooperation.
The two leaders also agreed to initiate 2+2 dialogue involving their foreign and defence ministers. India has a similar agreement with the US and the two sides held the first round of 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi last month.
"Held fruitful and extensive talks with PM @AbeShinzo. Today's discussions focused on aspects relating to better economic ties, stronger cooperation in areas of defence and security," Modi tweeted after two days of summit-level talks.
During the 13th annual summit, the two leaders reviewed developments in bilateral ties and explored new areas of cooperation, focusing on shared vision for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, where China is flexing its muscles.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea and also laid claims on the Senkaku islands under the control of Japan in the East China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the South China Sea.
Abe hosted Modi days after he went to Beijing where held talks with Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping. Abe's visit — the first by any Japanese premier since 2011 — was aimed at repairing strained ties.
Modi and Abe agreed that India and Japan must work together for a rules-based and inclusive world order that fosters trust and confidence by enhancing communication and connectivity to ensure rule of law, unimpeded trade and flow of people, technology and ideas for shared prosperity.
"A strong Japan benefits India and a strong India benefits Japan...Without India-Japan cooperation, there will be no development in Asia into the 21st century," Modi said.
On his part, Abe said the ties between Japan and India have the biggest potential in the world.
An India-Japan Vision Statement issued after the talks said, "the two leaders' vision for the Indo-Pacific is based on a rules-based order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, ensures freedom of navigation and overflight as well as unimpeded lawful commerce, and seeks peaceful resolution of disputes...without resorting to threat or use of force."
"We both agree that from digital partnership to cyber space, from health to protection, and from sea to space, in every field we will strengthen our partnership," Modi said.
The two leaders reviewed the progress made on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project, which is an important symbol of India-Japan collaboration. The two sides signed an agreement on yen loan for the project.
The two sides also signed an agreement on the implementing arrangement for deeper cooperation between the Indian Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
The two leaders welcomed the joint exercise between each of the three services and the commencement of negotiations on the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), which will enhance the strategic depth of bilateral security and defence cooperation.
Modi appreciated Japan's role in promoting connectivity through quality infrastructure projects such as the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
"The two leaders reaffirmed their shared commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons and remained resolute in the task of strengthening international cooperation to address the challenges of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism," the statement said.
They condemned the growing threat of terrorism and its universal reach. They called upon all countries to work towards rooting out terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and financing channels, and halting cross-border movement of terrorists.
They underlined the need for all countries to ensure that their territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries, in an apparent reference to Pakistan which is accused by its neighbours of providing safe havens to terrorists.
"They called upon Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorist attacks, including those of November 2008 in Mumbai and January 2016 in Pathankot. They looked forward to strengthening cooperation against terrorist threats from groups including Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lakshar-e-Tayyiba, and their affiliates," the statement said.
The two leaders underlined the urgent necessity to reform the WTO leading to the reinforced functioning of the WTO and to free, fair, and open trade. They recommitted themselves to resisting protectionism including all unfair trade practices and underlined the need to remove trade-distorting measures.
Recognising the close cooperation in Intellectual Property Rights between the Intellectual Property Offices of the two countries, the two leaders concurred to start a bilateral Patent Prosecution Highway programme on a pilot basis in certain identified fields of inventions in the first quarter of FY 2019.
The two countries called for expeditious and meaningful reforms of the United Nations and supported each other's candidature for permanent membership in an expanded UNSC.
The formal summit between Modi and Abe comes a day after they spent eight hours together at a picturesque resort near Mount Fuji in Yamanashi prefecture discussing ways to deepen strategic ties.
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Updated Date: Oct 29, 2018 21:02:00 IST