Saturday, Jul 04, 2009
SINGAPORE: India and Japan on Friday agreed to sustain and possibly expand their “canvas of cooperation” in the bilateral and international domains.
Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who chaired the third round of the Japan-India strategic dialogue in Tokyo, discussed how to carry forward the momentum already generated by their existing “strategic and global partnership.”
The two Ministers agreed to “work together actively” for the accomplishment of the dedicated freight corridor project in India and for “the early realisation of the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor project.”
Bilateral collaboration for the Indian Institute of Technology in Hyderabad was also “confirmed.”
While no timeline was set for the finalisation of an overarching “comprehensive economic partnership agreement,” the two sides emphasised the need for “a high-quality and mutually beneficial accord.”
With the countries having already issued an unprecedented Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation, the Ministers discussed follow-up measures for formulating an “action plan.” A bilateral dialogue on maritime security, inclusive of anti-piracy cooperation, would start soon.
Indicating that the two sides had now agreed to expand the frontiers of engagement on key international challenges, Japanese spokesman Kazuo Kodama told T he Hindu from Tokyo that no new initiative or mechanism was decided upon.
Mr. Kodama, who was present at the talks, said there was “a meeting of minds” on the issue of worldwide nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
Mr. Nakasone appreciated India’s ongoing observance of a voluntary moratorium on nuclear-weapon tests. At the same time, he expressed the “hope” that India would sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and ratify it.
Referring to Japan’s “benchmarks” for disarmament and non-proliferation, he was “hopeful” of cooperation with India for an early start of multilateral negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.
Mr. Krishna said, after the talks, that he assured Japan of India’s “constructive” participation in nuclear disarmament talks.
He reaffirmed India’s commitment to “a universal, non-discriminatory, and verifiable regime for a nuclear weapons-free world.”
On whether India had now sought Japan’s cooperation in the civil nuclear sector, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said over telephone, Tokyo was already informed that “we are ready when they are ready for it.”
On the global challenge of climate change, Mr. Nakasone said, after his talks with Mr. Krishna, that they “shared the view that we should step up our bilateral dialogue on this issue.” India emphasised the need for an “ambitious” but also an “equitable and fair” solution.
Mr. Krishna later called on Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and held talks with Opposition leaders.
It is understood that the new dynamics in India-China relations did not figure in the Japan-India strategic dialogue as such.
The Hindu : International / India & World : India, Japan focus on strategic ties