His Excellency Taro Kono, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan,
Members of the media,
I am very happy to be here in Japan on my first official visit as the External Affairs Minister of India for the 9th India-Japan Strategic Dialogue, especially during the beautiful Sakura season.
Foreign Minister Kono and I had very productive talks, covering a wide-range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. We took stock of progress since Prime Minister Abe's highly successful visit to India in September 2017.
I also look forward to an opportunity to call on His Excellency Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tomorrow.
Friends, bilateral relations between India and Japan have expanded rapidly in recent years. This is reflected in the number of high-level visits exchanged and the several official dialogue mechanisms that are in place. The quality of our discourse is rich.
The Special Strategic and Global Partnership between our two countries that was established during Prime Minister Modi’s landmark visit to Japan in 2014, has been constantly strengthened through our mutual efforts. There is optimism on both sides about the
potential of our future ties.
India and Japan have shared values, with a long history of friendly exchanges. Buddhism unites us. We are both democracies. We value openness, transparency, rule of law and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Our Special Strategic and Global Partnership has acquired a broader significance in the current global context. Our growing convergence on economic and strategic issues is important for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
Today, India has emerged as the fastest-growing large economy in the world. It is a global hub for manufacturing and innovation. Under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership, India is strongly committed to improving the "ease of doing business”. We have set into
motion many far-reaching changes to build infrastructure, reform the business environment and promote education, skills and economic development.
In my discussions with Foreign Minister Kono, I emphasized that in India’s transformational journey, we regard Japan as a natural partner. We believe that there is vast scope to combine our relative advantages, whether of capital, technology or human resources,
and to work for mutual benefit. Japan’s presence is visible in major infrastructure and capacity-building projects across India. Our flagship initiatives such as Smart City, Digital India, Start Up India and many others welcome Japan’s entrepreneurs with new
opportunities. We are happy to note that Japanese investments in India, both public and private, are on the rise.
Foreign Minister Kono and I had very productive discussions on how India and Japan are today working closely to build robust ties in High Speed Rail, Information and Communications Technology, Innovation, Space Science, Healthcare and Food Processing, to name
just a few. We also exchanged views on some new areas of focus in our engagement, such as skills development, Japanese language training in India and the possibility of Indian professionals working in Japan under the Technical Intern Training Programme.
As part of Japan’s sustained participation in India’s economic modernization, both sides will today conduct exchange of notes for Japanese Overseas Development Assistance for four new developmental projects in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Maharashtra.
Foreign Minister Kono and I also welcomed growing people-to-people exchanges between our two countries, as well as exchange of visits between our Parliamentarians, our think-tanks and scholars. Last year, we had celebrated the Year of India-Japan Friendly Exchanges
with a year-long calendar of cultural activities. We also expressed our satisfaction over growing role of States in India and prefectures in Japan as active stake-holders in our partnership.
We also exchanged views on some important global issues where India and Japan have growing convergences. We shared the view that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is a global scourge that requires global action in the spirit of "zero tolerance”,
including by rooting out terrorist safe havens, disrupting terrorist networks and financing channels and halting cross-border movement of terrorists.
We also emphasized the need for concerted global action to deal with other common challenges such as climate change.
I believe that our discussions today have laid a sound foundation for the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Japan for the next bilateral Annual Summit later this year. That visit, I am confident, will give renewed thrust to our Special Strategic and Global Partnership.
I wish to thank Foreign Minister Kono for his warm welcome and generous hospitality. I look forward to receiving him in India at an early date.