India-Japan relationship at its best ever: Japanese envoy

Japan’s Ambassador to India, Kenji Hiramatsu, on Friday said that the relationship between India and Japan is at its best ever, and that India is a key partner to carry out Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s free and open Indo-Pacific strategy.

“The India-Japan relationship is at its best ever. India is a key partner to carry out Prime Minister Abe’s free and open Indo-Pacific strategy. In this age of vulnerability, we cherish the relationship between the two countries. It’s a partnership between the oldest and the largest democracies,” Hiramatsu said, while addressing the India-Japan Colloquium session here.

“Prime Minister Abe’s free and open Indo-Pacific strategy is also an intent of Japan to play a larger role in the Indian Ocean under the banner of pro-active contribution to peace,” he added.

Hiramatsu further said, “We are living in a world that is becoming increasingly vulnerable and unpredictable, with outstanding issues like North Korea. But India and Japan and their partnership provides a certainty in the region and beyond.”

Earlier in the day, Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar asserted that Japan can make a substantial difference to India’s nuclear industry.

Speaking at the India-Japan Colloquium session, Jaishankar stressed as to how cooperation and civil nuclear defence will be two key components of the future for both India and Japan.

“The difference that Japan can make to our nuclear industry can be quite substantial. Japan’s openness to supply India with military technology also reflects the high level of confidence between the two countries,” he said.

The Foreign Secretary also spoke about a number of infrastructural and economic projects which both the countries are planning to undertake.

“India’s accelerated business growth provides new opportunities for Japanese countries. Japan offers capabilities and practices that are needed in this juncture. This will help one of the emerging bi-lateral relations in the world. Make-in India, Business India provides more opportunities for these countries,” he said.

Jaishankar highlighted the role of Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) in expediting the rapid modernisation of the Asian countries.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives in India next week for the annual bilateral summit with his Indian counterpart.