Modi visit to take Indo-Japan global ties to different level

Modi visit to take Indo-Japan global ties to different level

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will travel from Tokyo to Kyoto on Saturday to personally receive his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, who will start his five-day visit to the East Asian country from its erstwhile imperial capital.

Modi has chosen Kyoto to start his tour to the “land of the rising sun” as the city “represents a confluence of the civilizational heritage of India and Japan”. Abe will host a dinner for Modi on Saturday and also accompany him to To-ji, a famous temple of Lord Buddha, where the two leaders will offer prayers.

The two prime ministers will meet again in Tokyo on Monday for bilateral talks and are expected to take the “strategic and global partnership” between India and Japan to “a new level” with a series of agreements to boost bilateral defence cooperation as well as trade and economic ties. 

New Delhi on Thursday said it had “great expectations” from the prime minister’s visit, which is also his first bilateral visit beyond the neighbourhood of India. 

The two countries have been negotiating on a civil nuclear cooperation agreement since 2010 but negotiators on both sides have failed to narrow down the differences. After a two-year-long hiatus following the March 11, 2011 mishap at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant, the two countries restarted talks last year. 

“We’ve had several useful conversations between our negotiators and the Japanese interlocutors. These discussions have yielded substantive results,” the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin, told journalists in New Delhi on Thursday. 

“However, civil nuclear issues are of immense technical complexity. Therefore, our negotiators continue to focus on this and we are working towards a satisfactory outcome for India and also for our friends in Japan,” he added.

Though the deal is unlikely to be signed during his visit to Tokyo, Modi and Abe are expected to push for an early breakthrough on the contentious issues.  The two countries are also likely to move forward on the negotiation for supply of Japanese US-2 amphibian aircraft for Indian Navy. 

Modi is expected to invite Japan’s government and private sector companies to play a greater role in infrastructure development in India. “Japan figures prominently among those countries that have both the financial resource and the technical skills for next generation infrastructure,” said Akbaruddin. 

Modi will visit Kyoto University and interact with scientists engaged in stem cell research. 

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