Foreign Minister Aso's Visit to India
JOINT PRESS RELEASE
January 4, 2006
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, H.E. Mr. Taro Aso, accompanied by a high-level delegation, is paying an official visit to India on January 3-4, 2006. India is the first Asian country Foreign Minister Aso is visiting for bilateral consultations. The visiting Minister held delegation-level talks with Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri E. Ahamed at Hyderabad House this afternoon (January 4). He also called on H.E. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India and had meetings with Shri Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Shri M.K. Narayanan, National Security Advisor.
During his talks with the Minister of State for External Affairs, the two Ministers made a positive assessment of the present status of bilateral relations and noted with satisfaction that the Global Partnership between India and Japan has acquired a new dynamism and momentum, especially since the landmark visit of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to India in April 2005. They reiterated the principles and understandings contained in the Joint Statement signed by the Prime Ministers in New Delhi on April 29, 2005, and agreed on the following to further promote the Global Partnership, proceeding from a strategic perspective:
- High-level Visits: In response to an invitation from Prime Minister Koizumi, Prime Minister of India is expected to visit Japan at an early, mutually convenient date. Regular ministerial-level exchanges, including between Foreign, Defence, Finance, Trade, and ICT Ministers, will continue.
- Strategic Dialogue: Recalling that during Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to India, the two Prime Ministers had decided to enhance the strategic focus of the India-Japan Global Partnership, the Ministers agreed to conduct henceforce Foreign Minister-level talks with a strategic perspective. Foreign Minister Aso invited Minister of External Affairs of India to visit Japan for such talks. The existing Foreign Office Consultations at Secretary/Deputy Minister-level will be utilized to prepare for the Foreign Minister-level dialogue. The High Level Strategic Dialogue, agreed upon during Prime Minister Koizumi's visit, will also be operationalised as soon as possible.
- CEPA/EPA: The two sides agreed to earnestly consider the possibility of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement in the context of the ongoing work of the India-Japan Joint Study Group, which is expected to submit its report by June 2006.
- ICT Cooperation: Noting the positive outcome of the first ICT Forum held in New Delhi in August 2005, the two sides agreed that the immense potential for cooperation in this sector will be fully tapped, including through early meetings of the Working Groups of the Forum.
- Cooperation in Energy Sector: The Indian side expressed its appreciation for Japan's support for India's participation in ITER. The two sides agreed to step up cooperation in the energy sector, including through timely implementation of the Plan of Action agreed upon between the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas of India and the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan in Tokyo on September 29, 2005.
- Science and Technology Initiative: The two sides agreed to hold joint workshops to identify collaboration projects to be undertaken as part of the "Science and Technology Initiative", announced by the two Prime Ministers in April 2005. The relevant modalities in this regard will be finalized through mutual consultations, in pursuance of the discussions held in the 7th Meeting of India-Japan Joint Committee on Science and Technology in New Delhi in November 2005.
- ODA: Foreign Minister Aso conveyed that India will remain the largest recipient of the Japanese ODA loan in the current fiscal year for the third consecutive year. The Indian side expressed its appreciation for the Japanese assistance.
- Freight Corridors Project: In pursuance of the understanding reached during Prime Minister Koizumi's visit regarding dedicated multimodal freight corridors with computerized train control system on Mumbai-Delhi and Delhi-Howrah routes, the two sides agreed, through an exchange of Notes, that the feasibility study survey for the project will be carried out by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
- Human Exchanges: Foreign Minister Taro Aso conveyed the decision of the Japanese side to launch the "Aso Programme" which will involve exchange of 4000 persons over the next three years in the fields of Japanese language, technology, youth interaction, etc., with Japanese funding and support. The Indian side expressed its appreciation for this initiative which will promote people-to-people contacts. The two sides also encouraged further exchanges at local level.
- Visas: Noting the recent progress in the relaxation of visa procedures, including through issuance of multiple-entry visas valid for 3 years to Indian businessmen, the Ministers directed that consultations be held at an early date to consider further facilitation of visa procedures.
- Security Dialogue and Cooperation: The Ministers agreed to further strengthen dialogue and exchanges between the two countries in the security and defence fields. The Defence Minister of India is expected to pay an official visit to Japan later this year. The visit will be preceded by the next round of Comprehensive Security Dialogue and Military-to-Military Talks.
- Disarmament and Non-proliferation: The Ministers agreed to launch a Joint Secretary/Director General-level Annual Dialogue on Disarmament and Non-proliferation, with the objective of promoting commonalities and enlarging areas of convergence for mutual cooperation in a constructive manner, thereby contributing to the advancement of overall bilateral relations. This Dialogue will also address the issues relating to high technology trade.
- East Asia Summit: Noting the positive outcome of the First EAS, the Ministers agreed that the EAS should play a significant role in the progressive realization of the vision of an East Asian community. India and Japan will continue their close consultation and cooperation in this regard.
- UN Reforms: The Ministers reaffirmed the need for urgent and comprehensive reform of the United Nations, including the reform and expansion of the UN Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories, which is central to the UN reform process, within the current session of the UN General Assembly. They reiterated that the coming together of the G-4 (India, Japan, Brazil and Germany) has been a significant development, and that G4, in their consultations, are seeking to garner as much support as possible from other member States in order to realize the reform of the Security Council.
January 4, 2006
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