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Japanese PM Abe promises peace in Indo-Pacific region

New Delhi, Sep 13 (AGENCIES)
Published on 14 Sep. 2017 12:49 AM IST
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Highlighting common ‘strategic interests’ Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who arrived in Ahmedabad on Wednesday said that India-Japan bilateral ties will shape the Asia-Pacific region. Abe will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday during the India-Japan annual summit as both sides firm up military and strategic ties.
 “Both India and Japan place importance on the universal values and strategic interests that we commonly share. Both countries are major Asian democracies and global powers. ...and I’m determined that Japan and India will lead the way towards peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region and the world,” said Prime Minister Abe in a statement which was released to the media even as he landed in the capital of Gujarat.
The visit of Abe is significant in view of the weeks-long standoff between India and China at the Doklam plateau of Bhutan when the Chinese belligerent rhetoric indicated a negative turn in ties with India. Last week, Abe’s senior advisor Katsuyuki Kawai visited India and indicated that Japan would seek ballistic and cruise missiles to deal with the dual threat of ‘expansionist’ China and a nuclear-powered North Korea. Discussion over the security challenges facing Tokyo after the North Korean thermo nuclear test is a new dimension to bilateral ties between Japan and India. 
He stopped short of revealing if bilateral military ties would feature in Abe’s visit though the Ministry of External Affairs later said that a military component would constitute a part of Abe-Modi meeting.
Reports suggest that Japan is likely to take up the sale of ShinMaywa US-2 amphibian aircraft that India has been eyeing for the past few years. The aircraft, one of the frontline machines of its category, is expected to boost India’s maritime capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region. The other major discussion is likely to be over the future of India-Japan nuclear ties which has acquired a new broader scope after Japan secured the legislative ratification for the deal.
While the nuclear deal between the two countries will allow both sides to cooperate in building nuclear reactors, it will also allow Westinghouse, American subsidiary of Japanese nuclear major Toshiba, to speed up its projects in India.
While the visit is likely to highlight the High Speed Rail project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, it will also showcase Japanese willingness to invest in the infrastructure and strategic sectors in South Asia where it has emerged as the largest strategic partner of India.

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