Thursday, August 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

India, Japan global partners now
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Aug 23 — India and Japan today decided to become global partners for peace and development with the two countries agreeing to have regular dialogue on security and disarmament.

The two countries have also decided to have regular meetings at the levels of Prime Minister, Foreign Minister as well as other ministers on bilateral, regional, and international issues.

Emerging out of the dialogue venue at Hyderabad House, the visiting Japanese Prime Minister, Mr Yoshiro Mori, told waiting mediapersons that “Japan and India have become global partners from today”.

In the same spirit, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, said “bilateral relationship has acquired new dimensions and a new depth”.

Later, briefing newspersons about the discussions between Mr Mori and Mr Vajpayee, the External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, said the two countries had decided to have regular exchanges at the levels of the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and other ministers.

For this, the visiting Premier had invited the Prime Minister to visit Japan. Mr Vajpayee would visit Japan in the first quarter of the next year, Mr Jaswant Singh said.

Describing Mr Mori’s visit, the first by a Japanese Prime Minister in the past 10 years, as “very successful”, Mr Jaswant Singh said the two Prime Ministers had “constructive and very productive” discussions which were held in a cordial, friendly and cooperative atmosphere.

The External Affairs Minister said that the two countries had decided to have a regular security dialogue and the first meeting of the security dialogue would take place this year. The exact date and venue would be decided very soon.

Mr Vajpayee, addressing Japanese concerns on nuclear issue, told Mr Mori India had imposed a moratorium on further tests and it was not time-bound and subject to any conditions. “We are in the process of building a consensus on this issue”, Mr Vajapyee told the visiting Premier.

An India-Japan eminent persons group has been set up and it will hold its first meeting either this year in December or in January next year, Mr Jaswant Singh said. The group will suggest ways to strengthen and deepen bilateral ties in the areas of culture, education and people-to-people contacts, he said, adding that Japan had agreed to invite 5000 young students from India over a period of next five years.

The two Prime Ministers also discussed Kashmir and the issue of terrorism. Mr Vajapyee told Mr Mori that India was not against resumption of dialogue with Pakistan but certain ingredients were necessary for initiating this process which included creating a conducive atmosphere.

Mr Vajpayee also conveyed his views on “wanton killings” of innocent people, Mr Jaswant Singh said.

Referring to global partnership, Mr Jaswant Singh said it was going to be “multi-faceted”.

Mr Vajpayee has extended an invitation to the Japanese Emperor to visit India. Mr Mori has invited the President, Mr K.R. Narayanan to Japan.

While the visiting Premier gave no assurance about lifting economic sanctions imposed by Tokyo after the Pokhran nuclear explosions Japan has decided to resume funding to the Delhi Metro project and power project.

Japan has also agreed to issue multi-entry visas with a validity of three years to visiting Indian businessmen.

The Japanese Prime Minister, who was accorded a ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan here this morning, held wide-ranging discussions with the External Affairs Minister.

Sharing concern over the scourge of international terrorism, the two sides underscored the need for joint efforts to combat this menace, officials said.

On the comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT) issue, Mr Jaswant Singh maintained that India would continue its voluntary moratorium on nuclear tests, a commitment it had made soon after the Pokhran nuclear explosions.

The External Affairs Minister apprised Mr Mori of the government’s efforts at evolving a political consensus on the CTBT issue.

Mr Mori told reporters at Rashtrapati Bhavan that Tokyo was keen to give further impetus to India-Japan relations and make them more closer. “I will like to make India-Japan relations much better than what they are now”, he said.

Mr Mori called on the President, Mr K.R. Narayanan, who hosted a lunch for him, and the Vice- President, Mr Krishan Kant.

The visiting Premier will have a meeting with the Congress president Mrs Sonia Gandhi tomorrow.

Mr Mori will have an interactive session with the FICCI and deliver an address on “India-Japan global partnership in the 21st century”.

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