PM Modi meets Japan PM Shinzo Abe in Laos

NEW DELHI(PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday met his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe after arriving here and discussed ways to strengthen strategic bilateral ties.

“Discussing stronger ties with Japan…PM Narendra Modi meets Japan PM Shinzo Abe,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted as the almost 45 minutes-long bilateral talks began. Modi will attend the 14th ASEAN India Summit and 11th East Asia summit tomorrow. He will also have bilaterals with leaders of Myanmar and South Korea. There could be more “pull aside” talks tomorrow with leaders, officials said. This is Modi’s second meeting with Abe in less than six months. They had met on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April.

Earlier, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that the two leaders are likely to discuss cooperation in the defence sector. Japan’s maritime self-defence force and the Indian and US navies conducted Malabar joint maritime security exercises in June and Japanese and Indian defence ministers agreed in July to repeat the joint drill next year. The leaders are also expected to discuss investment and other economic cooperation, the report said.

The friendship between India and Japan has a long history rooted in spiritual affinity and strong cultural and civilizational ties. Over the years, the two co untries have built upon these values and created a partnership based on both principle and pragmatism. Bilateral ties have been singularly free of any kind of dispute, ideological, cultural or territorial.

The relationship is unique and one of mutual respect manifested in generous gestures and sentiments, and of standing by each other at times of need. The beginning of the 21st century witnessed a dramatic transformation in bilateral ties. The global partnership formed the foundation for the strengthening ties in diverse fields, including identifying strategic convergences.

Economic relations between India and Japan have vast potential for growth, given the obvious complementarities that exist between the two Asian economies. Japan’s interest in India is increasing due to variety of reasons including India’s huge and growing market and its resources, especially the human resources.

The signing of the historic India-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and its implementation from August 2011 is expected to further accelerate growth of trade, economic and commercial relations between the two countries.