why india-japan ties never looked brighter than this

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan on October 28 and 29 was a major milestone. Japan is the first country to collaborate with India’s mammoth Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission. Our ties with Japan, as PM Modi stated at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore on June 1 this year, stand completely transformed

by Sujan R Chinoy

It is a partnership of great substance and purpose that is a cornerstone of India’s Act East Policy. The visit underscored a convergence in political, economic and strategic interests that is unmatched in India’s external relations. The sheer sweep of the multidimensional Special Strategic and Global Partnership today can be gauged from the Vision Statement and the substantive outcomes straddling diverse areas.

Laying Framework

Warm and friendly personal ties between Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have provided impetus to our ties. Another factor is the ineluctable rise of India and the intrinsic logic of closer relations between two of Asia’s largest economies with shared democratic values and a commitment to openness, transparency and the rule of law.

Together, we endeavour to build a regional architecture in the Indo-Pacific predicated on inclusiveness, dialogue, the peaceful resolution of disputes and a connectivity that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity. The two leaders have imbued our ties with a sense of direction and purpose in a fast-changing global and regional environment.

It is a vision that can help the region deal more effectively with the fault lines of history, the disruptions of technology and the vicissitudes of trade. It is a partnership for peace, prosperity and global action. PM Modi was the first foreign dignitary to be invited by PM Abe to his private family retreat nestled amidst sylvan woodlands at the foot of Mt Fuji.

Their wide-ranging conversations over two days stand testimony to mutual trust and confidence. As PM Abe has stated, the India-Japan partnership has the greatest potential of all. Echoing the sentiment, PM Modi has stated that India-Japan relations have the depth and expanse of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Japan today is involved in the transformation of India, including at the grassroots level. The 2+2 dialogue will promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. Japan is the third-largest investor in India.

Burgeoning investments in industrial corridors, high-speed rail and the financial sector are backed by growing engagement in skill development, education, language training, culture and tourism. India and Japan have agreed to cooperate in third countries. India’s talented human resources, equipped with Japanese language training and best practices, are set to make inroads into Japan.

Common Goals

Japan is the first country to collaborate with India’s mammoth Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission, with focus on sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, geriatric care and trauma services. The agreement between the Ministry of AYUSH and Kanagawa prefecture will promote Ayurveda in Japan, alongside Yoga, to provide holistic alternative healthcare.

The digital partnership will tap into synergies between Start-Up India and Japan Start-Up, focusing on AI, Big Data and IOT. PM Modi’s interaction with Japanese venture capitalists emphasised the opportunities in the start-up space in India.

The agreement on cooperation in the field of Food Processing paves the way for Japanese companies to participate in food parks, cold chains and processing industries in India.

Consolidated Trust

Whether in science and technology, environment, space science or renewable energy, the unfolding story involves an ever-expanding list of stake-holders, with academics, parliamentarians, provincial governments and the Indian diaspora providing heft.

The 2+2 dialogue will promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.

Deeper naval cooperation and the first-ever counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism joint exercise between ground forces will reinforce ties. Collaborative projects in the defence sector will open up fresh opportunities, both economic and strategic.

Reflecting the broad diversity of economic cooperation, India and Japan concluded a Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement for USD 75 billion. Japan’s decision to join the International Solar Alliance strengthens our partnership for global action. PM Modi’s words, that the 21st century cannot be Asia’s century without cooperation between India and Japan, ring true. His visit has consolidated our traditional friendship and opened up new vistas in our partnership.

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