13th India-Japan Summit

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Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Japan on 27th October (2018) and met his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe’s holiday villa in Yamanashi, a resort area near Mount Fuji.  The two prime ministers spent about eight hours together, Indian officials reportedly said.  Thereafter the two leaders headed to Tokyo.  . In Tokyo, they held the 13th India-Japan annual summit on 29 October, during which economic cooperation and strengthening bilateral security was discussed.

The two leaders reviewed the progress in bilateral relations and took measures to deepen strategic dimension of their relationship.  Modi said it will be his 12th meeting with Abe since he first visited Japan as prime minister in September 2014. India needs technical know-how from Japan while Japan needs Indian market for its manufactured goods.

During the two-day summit, Modi has engaged with Abe on a range of issues including defence and regional security. The two leaders also paid a quick visit to a Japanese company that is a leading manufacturer of factory automation (robot).

Modi reportedly told Kyodo News Service that “There are no negatives but only opportunities in this relationship which are waiting to be seized.”

Besides bilateral issues, the two leaders reportedly discussed on a range of regional and global issues including the situation in the Indo-Pacific region. Modi attended a series of business events and addressed the Japanese business forum. He has been in the forefront in urging countries in the Indo-Pacific region to unite against protectionism and cross-border tensions.

Prime Minister Abe reportedly said the annual mutual visits by the leaders of Japan and India constituted an “active driving force” for the advancement of Japan-India bilateral relations. “I am convinced that Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Japan this time will also be fruitful as our previous meetings,” he said.

At the same time, Abe hoped that Prime Minister Modi would enjoy the beautiful autumn in Japan, including the snow-capped Mount Fuji and autumn-tinted leaves, besides experiencing Japanese cutting-edge technology. Describing Prime Minister Modi as “one of my most dependable and valuable friends,” Abe said he would be greatly pleased if his guest was impressed the same way as he was in Ahmedabad.”

Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe reportedly said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of his most “dependable” friends and together with the Indian leader, he would like to strengthen bilateral cooperation to realise a free and open Indo-Pacific region.. In a message published in Indian newspapers on the day of the two leaders’ summit meeting in Japan, Abe said India was driving the region and the world’s prosperity as a global power.

Prime Minister Modi was an outstanding leader of his great country, the Japanese premier said. “I have always believed and stated that the relationship between Japan and India is blessed with the largest potential in the world,” he said.

Japan-India cooperation continued to expand broadly in many fields such as security, investment, information technology, agriculture, health, environment and tourism, Abe noted. The Japanese Prime Minister reportedly told Modi about his recent trip to China and both sides agreed on the need to cooperate closely on getting North Korea to drop nuclear weapons development.

Abe has made bolstering and opening nation’s economy central to his policies, called “Abeconomics” and has encouraged trade, foreign investment and tourism.  Although Japan has long seen the US, as its main ally, Abe is courting other ties, Observers say. He has been vocal about free trade which runs counter to Trump’s move to raise tariffs. In July the European Union and Japan signed a free trade agreement—the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement—the terms of which had been finalized in December 2017. The agreement eliminates tariffs on nearly all major goods traded between the two sides.

“The EU and Japan showed an undeterred determination to lead the world as flag-bearers for free trade,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly said following the signing, alongside European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The agreement’s signing comes after both Japan and the EU—both U.S. allies—have faced heavy criticism from U.S. President Donald J. Trump for what he perceives as unfair trade practices. Recently, Trump described the 27-member EU as a “foe” for its trade practices.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe two handcrafted stone bowls made from rose quartz and yellow quartz stone sourced from Rajasthan. A Jodhpuri wooden chest from Rajasthan with traditional work was also presented, an official said.

The bowls were crafted by master artisan Shabbirhusen Ibrahimbhai Shaikh of Gujarat’s Khambhat region, which is known for its practice of stone craft since generations and is also a leading hub for exports of stone products from India. He also presented hand-woven dhurries from Madya Pradesh.  “The dhurries were in two distinctive Indian colour palettes. While one uses Indigo blues, reds and sprinkles of turmeric yellows, the identifying colours that have marked Indian textiles for centuries, the other uses the muted earthy tones of the Indian landscape,” Indian  official reportedly  said.

Barrister Harun ur Rashid, Former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva.

  • 13th India-Japan Summit
  • Issue 19
  • Barrister Harun ur Rashid
  • Vol 35
  • DhakaCourier

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