New Delhi: External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar has called for expansion of the partnership between India and Japan for projects in a third country to Russia’s far east and Pacific Island countries.
Speaking at a FICCI virtual event, he said, “One is the possibility of economic cooperation in Russian far east because India has shown much greater willingness to be involved in economic projects there and the other is Pacific Island countries, we have developed a partnership and political footprints..has grown significantly.”
In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Vladivostok for annual India-Russia bilateral summit and announced a Line of Credit (LOC) of USD 1 billion for development projects in the Russian far east region. The LOC will facilitate undertaking infrastructure and other development projects.
India is also increasing its outreach to Pacific island countries, especially via the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) which has India and 14 Pacific Island countries–Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Both the countries already have a partnership in the third country for infrastructure and project development. Joint projects are underway in Sri Lanka, and the EAM said both are “trying to see if we can cooperate in Bangladesh and Myanmar”.
India, Japan engage via “act east forum” which is chaired by Indian Foreign Secretary and Japanese envoy to Delhi. It coordinates Japanese investment in India’s northeast and the wider region increasing connectivity to Bangladesh and Myanmar.
EAM called Japan as “most trusted partners of India and great inspiration for modernisation in Asia and for India” saying “we had the Maruti revolution, the metro revolution and bullet revolution in the making..because of the history of Japan, because of the strengths of Japan, it makes you more invaluable partner in our own journey to modernity”.
The ties between the two countries have substantially increased in the last few years, especially with the personal ties between former Japanese PM Abe Shinzo and PM Modi.
EAM said the ties have turned from “narrow bilateral relation” to “landscape of interaction now broader” and signifying “maturing of relations”. He added, it is not “Delhi talking to Tokyo”, the relationship has “more conversations, has substance today..and reflects the journey of last 25 years”.