Japan-India ties to 'go deeper'

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    Japan-India ties to 'go deeper' / Indian foreign minister eager to extend cooperation under Abe govt : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

    Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said he expects a boost in the India-Japan relationship under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose efforts to reinforce the bilateral relationship were interrupted when the first Abe Cabinet resigned en masse in 2007.

    "In India, [Abe] is remembered very fondly and with great admiration," Khurshid said during an interview held Wednesday in Tokyo.

    "His taking over the reins of power in Japan gives a very strong signal we will move much faster, much further and that our relationship...will indeed go much deeper than ever before," Khurshid said.

    On Tuesday, Khurshid met with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at Iikura guesthouse in Tokyo.

    The two governments signed an agreement that will see Japan provide India with 220.4 billion yen in loans for four projects, including the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project.

    The project, proposed by Japan and begun in 2006, plans to build a freight railway in India's midwest and develop industrial complexes along the railway.

    During the interview, Khurshid said the industrial corridor project is moving quickly and that it is "imperative for fulfilling India's aspirations of being a modern country that offers opportunity to its young people."


    Hopes of nuclear agreement

    Khurshid expressed his hopes that bilateral negotiations to conclude an agreement on peaceful nuclear energy cooperation, which stalled after the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, will move forward.

    He urged Japan "to join hands with us in collaborating for the peaceful use of nuclear energy at the earliest possible time."

    "One thing is clear--the energy mix in India will inevitably require a portion to be supplied by nuclear energy," he said.

    However, Khurshid said India has no intention to rush Japan on the issue. "We understand Japan will need a little time to be able to state a final position," he said.

    India has not signed on to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but Khurshid stressed that "India's record on nonproliferation and disarmament is next to no one's."

    Meanwhile, Khurshid said the Indian government is willing to assist Japan's moves to attract more Indian students. Last year, the University of Tokyo opened an office in Bangalore, a southern Indian city, to attract Indian students.

    However, the Indian minister said broader efforts by the government and education circles are necessary, such as investing more in programs to teach Japanese to Indian children and offering more scholarships to Indian students.


    Cooperation extended

    The Yomiuri Shimbun

    Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his Indian counterpart agreed to reinforce maritime security cooperation between the two countries.

    On Tuesday, Kishida and Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid agreed on continuing director general-level conferences between Japan, India and the United states, which began from 2011, as well as joint training conducted by the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy.

    The training was held for the first time in June.

    After Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December, he revealed his aim of enhancing ties with India, a strategy he took while in power from 2006 to 2007.

    In December, Abe said he was willing to promote security cooperation with India and Australia, a move apparently aimed at countering China's growing influence in Asia.
    (Mar. 28, 2013)

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