Japan, India to forge closer economic ties, take relations to 'next level'

GMT 07:28 2014 Tuesday ,02 September

Arab Today, arab today Japan, India to forge closer economic ties, take relations to 'next level'

India-Japan Ties Strengthen
Tokyo - XINHUA

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi held summit talks here Monday, which traversed a number of issues ranging from increasing investment ties, jointly developing clean technologies and continuing delicate discussions on a civil nuclear deal.
The official summit at the Akasaka State Guest House in Tokyo commenced after Modi attended a ceremonial guard of honor at the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo and concluded with both parties saying the talks were a great success and a win-win for both Tokyo and New Delhi.
In fact, the two leaders' meeting and the impact it would have on both countries' futures was described by one Ministry of External Affairs source as, "elevating their relations to the next level."
For its part, Japan said it intends to double its investment in India as well as the number of Japanese companies operating there within five years.
Under the current India-Japan Investment Promotion Partnership, Japan also said it would supply India with its highly-sought after Shinkansen (bullet train) technology for a next-generation high speed rail project that will link Mumbai with Ahmedabad.
A statement issued by the two leaders at the conclusion of their summit also reaffirmed the "importance of defense relations between Japan and India in their strategic partnership" and noted that "provisions will be made to upgrade and strengthen them."
The declaration also said the two leaders highlighted the importance of the regularization of bilateral maritime exercises and Japan's continued participation in the India-U.S. Malabar series of exercises.
The Exercise Malabar, as it's known locally, is a bilateral naval exercise involving the United States and India, with participation sometimes extended to a third country, which in previous years has included Japan, Australia and Singapore.
But experts on the matter here quashed the significance of any future defense partnership as being entirely expected and merely falling in line with the United States' own vision for the region.
"Geopolitically it's no surprise that the two leaders have decided to boost defense cooperation as the move has already been signed off on by the United States, whose own defensive capabilities are in a bit of an economic stranglehold right now," Dr. David McLellan, a professor emeritus of postgraduate Asian Studies in Tokyo, told Xinhua.
"So for Tokyo and New Delhi to say they are going to boost maritime exercises, joint naval drills, or even for India to start purchasing military hardware from Japan, is of no great surprise and falls well within those familiar with the situation, particularly military analysts' expectations," he said.
During the summit, it appeared that the two leaders were unable to find any new common ground on ongoing talks regarding a nuclear deal between the two countries.
India has irked some global powers by not signing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and technology.
But while both sides inked an official document stating their intentions of working towards a singular deal, sources close to the matter said that the talks came to loggerheads over Tokyo's insistence that New Delhi abandon its nuclear weapons testing program and allow more inspections on its facilities to ensure that spent fuel isn't being reprocessed into weapons grade materials.
India has suggested that Japan take advantage of a civil nuclear pact that would effectively allow Japan to export its nuclear fuel and technology to India's burgeoning market, which would benefit related firms here like Hitachi and Toshiba, who both specialize in plant technology and systems development.
According to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, by 2032 India plans to add around 30 reactors to its existing 20 and is leaning hard on Japan to partner-up and bring this expansion to fruition, sources have said.
However, separately, Abe was quoted Monday as saying noncommittally of the deal, "I had frank discussion on this issue and we are able to deepen our understanding on both sides."
Modi, for his part, said Japan could become a major player in helping to provide clean power to 1.2 billion people living in India and help combat global warming.
Throughout the meetings Monday, Modi stressed the importance of the need for more joint research and development between India and Japan into clean energy and developing "clean cities" that don't rely on burning fossil fuel and destroying nature.
"Potentially there's a huge market here for Japan to tap into, particularly as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is so pro- environmentally friendly cities. India is a huge global polluter and by lowering its emissions while still functioning as one of the world's 'global factories' the spin-off compensation for India would be huge," political analyst Teruhisa Muramatsu told Xinhua.
"But Japan remains wary from a number of positions. Of course, Japan is still contending with its own nuclear crisis, so it must tread carefully, but perhaps more pressing, from a global viewpoint, is India's refusal to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. I imagine Abe pressed Modi hard about this, as its a monumental opportunity for both sides," Muramatsu said.
Japan is the first country Modi has visited since he took office in May and Emperor Akihito will host the visiting prime minister on Tuesday.

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