Japan PM Fumio Kishida arrives today, may discuss Ukraine with Modi

Japan PM Fumio Kishida arrives today, may discuss Ukraine with Modi

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is arriving on Saturday for his first visit to India as Prime Minister, in what is going to be the first head of government visit to India in 2022.

Kishida, who has come to India as Japan’s Foreign Minister earlier, has met PM Narendra Modi four times in the past few years. But, this is also his first bilateral visit overseas — he visited Glasgow for CoP26 last year.

The summit between the Indian and Japanese PMs is taking place three and half years since the last Summit was held in Japan in 2018.

The annual summit between Modi and his then Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe was cancelled in December 2019 in Guwahati in the wake of massive protests rocking the Assam capital over the amended citizenship law.

The visit is important as this year also marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Modi had spoken to Kishida on phone in October 2021 soon after the latter had assumed office. Both sides had expressed desire to further strengthen the special strategic and global partnership.

Given the evolving geo-political and economic situation, both sides are looking to deepening partnership, sources said.

Kishida, who was sworn in as the Japan PM on October 4, 2021, will arrive on March 19 (Saturday) in the afternoon and depart on the morning of March 20 (Sunday).

The two countries have deepened their strategic ties as there is convergence on free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. Also, there has been progress in defence and security and in regional context.

The two countries are also involved in the Act East Forum — a decision was taken in the 2017 Summit to establish the India-Japan Act East Forum. The objective is to coordinate developmental projects in North-East India in areas of connectivity, forest management, disaster risk reduction and capacity building.

Officials said several projects, including upgrade of highways in Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, are underway. Modi had last year laid the foundation stone of a 20 km bridge over the Brahmaputra River between Assam and Meghalaya.

The two sides are working on a Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) – the Trade and Economy Ministers of India, Japan and Australia launched the SCRI on April 27, 2021. The initiative seeks to enhance the resilience of supply chains in the Indo-Pacific region and to develop dependable sources of supply and to attract investment. As initial projects, sharing of best practices on supply chain resilience; and holding of a matching event have been completed.

On the economic front, since Modi’s visit to Japan in 2014, tremendous progress has been made on implementation of several important decisions, which have been taken by the PMs.

“We have achieved the target of Japanese Yen 3.5 trillion public and private investments in India, which was announced by Modi and Abe in 2014 (Investment Promotion Partnership),” the source said.

There are 1,455 Japanese companies in India and 11 Japan Industrial Townships (JIT) have been established — Neemrana in Rajasthan and Sri City in Andhra Pradesh with the most number of companies.

Japan is the 5th largest source of FDI and largest supplier of ODA (development partner of India).

Several infrastructure projects are underway through Japanese assistance, including Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail, Dedicated Freight Corridor, metro projects and DMIC among others.

The Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the Japanese PM would pay a two-day visit to India beginning Saturday for the 14th India-Japan summit.

India and Japan have multifaceted cooperation within the ambit of their ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’, he said. The situation in Ukraine is also likely to figure in the Modi-Kishida talks.

“The summit will provide an opportunity for both sides to review and strengthen the bilateral cooperation in diverse areas as well as exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest so as to advance their partnership for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond,” Bagchi said.

The summit could not be held in 2020 as well as in 2021 primarily due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Japan is set to hold an in-person summit of Quad leaders this year and Modi is expected to attend it.

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Author: Shirley