Monday, December 10, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

PM favours economic cooperation with Japan
Ashwini Bhatnagar
Tribune News Service

Tokyo, December 9
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today pledged at a top business leaders’ meeting here that the Government of India would listen to the community and orient policies for a greater cooperation between Japanese investment and Indian needs.

Continuing with his effort to woo Japanese investors over the past two days, the Indian delegation also seriously pondered over the recommendations made at a Prominent Peoples Group meeting this afternoon. Nearly 25 top guns in Japanese polity and business attended this meeting. They felt that a people-to-people contact was necessary before money poured into India in the shape of foreign direct investment.

The interaction today with business and opinion leaders, after a round each with influential men in the rich areas of Osaka and Kobe, saw the Minister of Disinvestment, Mr Arun Shourie, holding a press briefing with Mr Yoshimi Ishikawa, who was described as a noted writer and a opinion leader. It was said that Mr Ishikawa is a guru for several economic and business leaders of Japan and a big supporter of Indo-Japan relations.

He strongly came out in favour of promoting greater understanding between the two people so that the Japanese mindset on investing in India is altered. He said that this was possible only through launching programmes that could promote tourism between the two countries.

He pointed out that despite “serious conflict” between Japan and China over several territorial and diplomatic issues, Japanese investment in that country had grown rapidly. This was largely because of the impressions brought back by over 3 million Japanese tourists who visited mainland China every year. On the other hand, however, only 115,000 tourists visited India and there were problems of travel and accommodation for them during their stay in India.

Though unconventional, the recommendation makes enormous business sense for, as Mr Ishikawa pointed out, it is not until the investor feels comfortable with the overall culture of a country that he makes a business decision. He said that though India and Japan shared a host of cultural affinities, yet partnerships between the two were limited.

Mr Shourie dittoed the sentiment and there appeared to be a lot of understanding between the two sides. The solution for setting right ties between the two nations was apparently found around the doctrine of familiarity and the Indian delegation did not disagree with the suggestion of opening Buddhist sites in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh for Japanese tourists.

Mr Vajpayee was scheduled to spend just 15 minutes at the meeting as he had left all the convincing to his two ministers — Arun Shourie and Omar Abdullah — and the official delegation. However, once into the meeting, Mr Vajpayee extended his stay and finally left the venue after over an hour. He listened patiently and stated firmly, “Where there is a will there is a way.” He told his colleagues that each suggestion made at the interaction should be followed up.

The task at hand for the Indian delegation and the Japanese seems to be putting economic cooperation on a fast track. Official government-level exchanges are scheduled to begin tomorrow after Mr Vajpayee receives a ceremonial welcome at Akasaka Palace. The two countries are expected to reiterate their opposition to terrorism in any part of the world and in any form.Back


PM pays tributes to Netaji
Ashwini Bhatnagar
Tribune News Service

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee with priest of Renkoji temple
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee with priest of Renkoji temple and his family members in Tokyo on Sunday.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee presents a gift to a Japanese girl who performed Indian classical dance "Bharatnatayam" during a reception in Tokyo on Sunday. — PTI photos

Tokyo, December 9
Deft handling of words by the Indian Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, set at rest the controversy over his visit to Renkoji temple in Tokyo this afternoon where the ashes of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose have been preserved since September 18, 1945.

Mr Vajpayee’s visit to the temple during his tour to Japan could have been interpreted as the government’s endorsement of the view that the great freedom fighter had actually perished in an air crash in 1945 even as the Justice Manoj Mukherjee Inquiry Commission is probing the matter. However, Mr Vajpayee avoided the controversy and yet paid tributes to the Netaji.

Mr Vajpayee was at the Renkoji temple for about 10 minutes. He paid floral tribute in front of the bust of the freedom fighter. He wrote in the visitors’ book: “I am happy to come to Renkoji for the second time where the memories of the great soldier of the Indian freedom movement have been preserved. Mr Vajpayee used the word ‘smritiya’ (memories) instead of ‘asthiya’ (ashes). The two words have a similar sound and convey the same sentiment but have different meanings literally. By avoiding the word ‘asthiya’, Mr Vajpayee deflected whatever possible criticism that could have come his way due to the ongoing proceedings of the Justice Mukherjee Commission.

The small well-preserved temple where the ashes have been kept since 1945, was established in 1594 inspired by the God of Wealth and Happiness. It belongs to the Nichiren sect of Buddhism that believes that human salvation lies only in the Lotus Sutra.

The ashes came to the temple only for the purpose of a funeral ceremony but Rev Mochizuki, father of the present chief priest, agreed to keep them in safe custody. Netaji’s associates observe his death anniversary on August 18 at the temple every year.

Mr Vajpayee had first visited the temple when he was India’s Foreign Minister during the Janata Party rule. Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was the first dignitary to visit the site in October, 1957. The then President, Dr Rajendra Prasad, followed him a year later and Mrs Indira Gandhi made her trip in 1969. Last year, the Minister of External Affairs, Mr Jaswant Singh, had visited the temple in November.Back

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |