Japan-India strategic partnership should be upgraded, says envoy

New Delhi :Japan’s Ambassador to India, Mr Kenji Hiramatsu, today said the Japan-India relations should be strengthened further to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Delivering a talk on “Challenges and Prospects of Japan’s Diplomacy – In the Context of India-Japan Relationship” at Observer Research Foundation in Delhi, Ambassador Hiramatsu suggested that “the India-Japan strategic partnership should be upgraded to a higher level”.

Ambassador Hiramatsu said security and protection is very important for his country, pointing out that the threat level has risen following the test launch of new nuclear missiles by China in February last.

He said there is also a need to further strengthen the trilateral between the Japan, US and India besides improving alliances with other like-minded countries to ensure peace and stability in the region and free sea-lanes.

Ambassador Hiramatsu said there is a danger to peace and stability in the region, especially in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean, and Japan and India should work together to ensure Rule of International Law.

“Japan and China should discuss further improving defence cooperation,” he said hoping that agreements on civil nuclear cooperation and deals on US-2 Amphibious aircraft will come soon.

Ambassador Hiramatsu also promised to support India’s entry into the APEC while pointing out that Japan is supporting India’s entry into Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG) and the UNSC.

Talking about the importance of economic cooperation, Ambassador Hiramatsu said Japan is working hard to meet the promise given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to double the Japanese investment in India in five years.

He said while Japan is facing the problem of dwindling and aging population, India has a talented young population, giving a perfect complementarity to the bilateral cooperation.

Welcoming Ambassador Hiramatsu, ORF Director Sunjoy Joshi pointed out that India and Japan shared a common interest in working toward a new regional order that can be open, inclusive, rule-based and free from any single country’s dominance. Towards this end, he said, India and Japan participated in several regional and global forums – the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, etc.

Japan having become a permanent partner in the Malabar Exercises, defence cooperation is going to figure more prominently in the coming years, he said.

Mr Joshi said both the countries are well positioned to leverage the advantages available to them. “The emerging contours of global geo-politics with the Indo-Pacific emerging as a frontal area for collaboration between our two nations have thrown open a whole host of subjects that will ensure India and Japan find ever more common ground,” Mr Joshi said. (ANI)