Indo-Japan summit: pacts on bullet train, defence, nuke energy

Indo-Japan summit: pacts on bullet train, defence, nuke energy

A USD 12-billion deal for India's first ever bullet train network, an MoU on civil nuclear energy cooperation and sharing defence technology were among key agreements India and Japan today sealed to take forward their special strategic and global partnership to a new height.

The pacts were inked after the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe who also focused on driving up economic ties besides deliberating on global issues including situation in South China Sea, challenges of terrorism and UN reforms.

Addressing a joint press meet with Abe, Modi said, "No friend will matter more in realising India's economic dreams than Japan" while describing Abe as "a personal friend and a great champion of India-Japan partnership".

To support Modi's 'Make in India' initiative, Japan has created a fund of about USD 12 billion which will be provided to Japanese companies for manufacturing in India. Japan has also pledged USD 5 billion as part of its Overseas Development Assistance to India.

After Modi-Abe talks, the two countries signed a broadbased MoU for cooperation in civil nuclear energy with the final pact to be signed after certain technical and legal issues are thrashed out. This is the first time that Japan has inked such an MoU with any non-NPT (Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty) signatory country.

"The memorandum we signed on civil nuclear energy cooperation is more than just an agreement for commerce and clean energy. It is a shining symbol of a new level of mutual confidence and strategic partnership in the cause of a peaceful and secure world," Modi said.

Referring to inking of a pact on the bullet train project, Modi said, "No less historic is the decision to introduce High Speed Rail on Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector through Shinkansen known for speed, reliability, safety".

He also noted that Abe's extraordinary package of approximately USD 12 billion and technical assistance on very easy terms for this project was greatly appreciated.

The bullet train network will link India's financial hub Mumbai with Ahmedabad in Modi's home state Gujarat. The train will cut travel time on the 505 kilometre route from eight hours to around three.

The two sides also inked agreements - one concerning the Transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology and another related to Security Measures for Protection of Classified Military Information.

Terming defence pacts as "decisive steps in our security cooperation", Modi said they will deepen the defence relations and promote defence manufacturing in India.

"This builds on our decision to expand staff talks to all three wings of the Armed Forces and make Japan a partner in Malabar Naval Exercises," he added.

The two leaders also issued a joint statement on 'India and Japan Vision 2025: Special Strategic and Global Partnership Working Together for Peace and Prosperity of the Indo-Pacific Region and the World'.

The statement said the two Prime Ministers welcomed the agreement reached between the two governments for cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy and confirmed that this agreement will be signed after the technical details are finalised including those relating to necessary internal procedures

After the talks, Modi also announced that "Recognising our special relationship, India will extend 'visa on arrival' to all Japanese citizens from 1st March 2016."

On his part, Abe said, "We have taken relationship to new level and buds have turned into blossom."

The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed the intention to develop "Japan Industrial Townships (JITs)" in India with incentive for companies which invest in the project. At least 13 such townships are under consideration.

An agreement on security measures for protection of classified military information and an amendment protocol of double taxation avoidance agreement were among 16 pacts signed by the two sides.

The two leaders also expressed their concern about the growing threat and "universal reach of extremism" and reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations with "zero tolerance".

Japan also decided to provide opportunity to 10,000 young Indian youths in Japan under students exchange programme.

Modi said India and Japan will work together in East Asia Summit to promote an inclusive, balanced and open regional architecture and maritime security in the region.

"We stand strongly for ensuring freedom of navigation and over-flight, and unimpeded maritime commerce. We believe that disputes must be resolved peacefully and that all countries must abide by international law and norms on maritime issues."

On South China Sea, Modi and Abe were of the view that full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and early conclusion of the negotiations to establish a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea by consensus will contribute to peace and stability of the region.

They decided to hold regular close consultations on issues related to maritime safety and security of sea lanes of communication.

Thanking Abe for his support to India's membership of the APEC, Modi said India will also strive for "our rightful place in a reformed UN Security Council".

The two Prime Ministers also expressed satisfaction on the inaugural Japan-India-Australia trilateral dialogue and talked about the India-Japan-US trilateral as well.

Modi and Abe also welcomed the progress in the flagship projects such as the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), and reaffirmed the determination to expedite the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) projects.

The two Prime Ministers further concurred to take the Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC) project to the next stage of concrete implementation including by utilising ODA loan schemes and other facility measures. 

On terrorism, both leaders called upon all countries to implement the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 and other relevant resolutions designating terrorist entities.

They also called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, in disrupting terrorist networks and financing channels, and stopping cross-border movement of terrorists.

"They underlined the need for all countries to effectively deal with trans-national terrorism emanating from their territory. They emphasised that the evolving character of terrorism called for stronger international partnership in combating terrorism, including through increased sharing of information and intelligence.

"They affirmed the importance of bringing the perpetrators of terrorist attacks including those of November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai to justice," said the joint statement.

It said the two Prime Ministers expressed concern over North Korea's continued development of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, including its uranium enrichment activities.

Modi and Abe also called for an immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) on the basis of Shannon Mandate.

"In this context, Prime Minister Abe stressed the importance of early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) which should lead to nuclear disarmament. They also supported the strengthening of international cooperation to address the challenges of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism," he said.

Japan also welcomed India's intensified engagement with export control regimes.

"The two Prime Ministers affirmed their commitment to work together for India to become a full member in the four international export control regimes: Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group," said the statement. 

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