M A I N   N E W S

India, Japan to usher in new Asian era
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 29
India and Japan today took their relationship to a higher pedestal as they decided to hold annual Prime Minister-level meetings, initiate a high-level strategic dialogue, close ranks in fighting global terrorism, launch an oil and natural gas cooperation and work closely on all international platforms aimed at bringing in a new Asian era.

An important highlight of the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Junichiro Koizumi at Hyderabad House this evening was that New Delhi and Tokyo agreed to work as partners against nuclear proliferation. This is significant as Japan was one of the first countries in imposing sanctions on India after Indian nuclear tests in 1998.

The two governments expressed their respective positions on the approaches towards the shared goal of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons and affirmed that they would seek to promote commonalities and identify areas of convergence for mutual cooperation between them, a Joint Statement released at the end of the Manmohan-Koizumi talks said.

The renewed partnership between India and Japan will feature the following three layers of cooperation:

Bilaterally, the two countries will further strengthen their cooperation and pursue an allround and comprehensive development of bilateral relations with a particular and urgent focus on strengthening economic ties through full utilisation of the existing and potential complementarities in their economies;

Regionally, the two countries will strive to develop closer dialogue and collaboration to secure peace, stability, and prosperity in Asia, promote democracy and development, and explore a new architecture for closer regional cooperation in Asia;

Globally, the two countries will strengthen cooperation in diverse areas such as environment, energy, disarmament, non-proliferation and security, taking advantage of, and further building on, their strategic convergences. The two sides recognised the threat posed by terrorism and the importance of the international community working unitedly to counter this menace and decided to further consolidate their existing cooperation, both bilaterally and in various international fora. The India-Japan Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism will hold its first meeting soon to identify possible future areas of cooperation.

The two leaders held in-depth discussions during which they covered the entire gamut of bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest. The discussions focussed in particular on adding greater substance to bilateral relations and on measures to further deepen the India-Japan global partnership. The two leaders recalled that their meeting was taking place in the fifth anniversary year of “India-Japan Global Partnership”. The two leaders recognize the need for concerted efforts among Asian countries to translate the positive developments into an ‘Arc of Advantage and Prosperity’.

The two sides decided on the following eight-point initiative:

1) Enhanced and upgraded dialogue architecture, including strengthening of the momentum of high-level exchanges, launching of a High Level Strategic Dialogue and full utilization of the existing dialogue mechanisms.

2) Comprehensive economic engagement, through expansion of trade in goods and services, investment flows and other areas of economic cooperation, and exploration of an India-Japan economic partnership agreement.

3) Enhanced security dialogue and cooperation.

4) Science and technology initiative.

5) Cultural and academic initiatives and strengthening of people-to-people contacts to raise the visibility and profile of one country in the other.

6) Cooperation in ushering in a new Asian era.

7) Cooperation in the United Nations and other international organizations, including cooperation for the early realization of U.N. reforms, particularly Security Council reform.

8) Cooperation in responding to global challenges and opportunities.

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