Joint Press Release
Visit of External Affairs Minister of India to Japan
The Minister of External Affairs of India, H.E. Shri Pranab Mukherjee, is paying an official visit to Japan at the invitation of H.E. Mr. Taro Aso, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan. The Minister of External Affairs of India held talks with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan on 22nd March 2007. They also initiated the first Ministerial Level Strategic Dialogue between the two countries. The Minister of External Affairs called on H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan. He also had meetings with H.E. Mr. Akira Amari, Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, H.E. Mr. Tetsuzo Fuyushiba, Minister for Land Infrastructure and Transport and H.E. Mr. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Chief Cabinet Secretary. He met with H.E. Mr. Fumio Kyuma, Minister for Defense on 23rd March, 2007.
During these intensive interactions, it was noted with satisfaction that bilateral relations have gained new momentum to reach a higher level following the decision by the two Prime Ministers to establish the Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership. The two sides expressed their determination to accelerate the process of strengthening bilateral relations based on the common values and shared interests through the implementation of understandings and agreements contained in the Joint Statement signed by the two Prime Ministers in Tokyo on December 15, 2006.
1. Regional and International Issues
(1) The Minister of External Affairs of India and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan exchanged views on ways to enhance cooperation on regional, multilateral and global issues. They reached a common understanding that India and Japan have a responsibility for responding to regional and global challenges, and must play an active role in the promotion of peace and stability in Asia and the world at large.
(2) Considering the present situation in Asia, the Ministers had extensive discussions on the direction of Japan-India cooperation towards building peace and prosperity in Asia. The Ministers reaffirmed that there exist common objectives and values between the idea of "Arc of Freedom and Prosperity" proposed by Japan and the idea of "Arc of Advantage and Prosperity" proposed by India, and that realisation of such common ideas would benefit not only Japan and India but also the whole of Asia. Japan and India will intensify dialogue on Asia through various channels.
(3) The Ministers shared the view that further development of South Asia, which has vast potential, would greatly contribute to peace and prosperity in Asia as well as in the world at large. The Ministers reaffirmed that South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) should play an important role for regional cooperation and integration of the South Asian region. India welcomed Japan as an Observer country at SAARC. They shared the view that the next SAARC Summit Meeting, which will be held in April in New Delhi and in which Japan will participate as an observer for the first time, would be an occasion to enhance global linkages between SAARC countries and the East Asian region.
(4) The Ministers shared the view that it would be important to strengthen regional cooperation to tackle such issues in the region, including inter alia, energy security, environmental issue, natural disaster, terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. They reiterated their readiness to cooperate in the process of community building in the Asian region and shared the view that it would be important to foster the East Asia Summit (EAS) as a pillar of East Asian community building in the future. For this purpose, they reaffirmed that the two countries would continue to cooperate on the basis of progress which was made during the 2nd EAS in January this year.
(5) The Ministers stressed that it would be important for the two countries to deepen cooperation in the field of climate change and energy efficiency in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities so as to work in a concerted manner against climate change which is the urgent issue of international society. They will also cooperate within the framework of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.
(6) The Ministers also reaffirmed that they will continue close cooperation towards early realisation of UNSC reform which is the common objective of the two countries. They confirmed that the initiative by the G-4 countries (Japan, India, Brazil and Germany) has played an important role in this endeavour and they will continue to utilise this framework as well as close dialogue with important partners.
(7) The Ministers discussed recent events on the Korean Peninsula and shared grave concerns on the nuclear test conducted by DPRK, which has greatly complicated the security situation in the region and highlighted the true extent of clandestine proliferation. They stressed the importance of fully implementing the UN Security Council resolution 1718 and confirmed that they would promote practical cooperation towards this end. They emphasised the importance of realising the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, through the Six-Party Talks and called for the implementation of the agreement of February 13, 2007. They urged that the abduction issue be resolved at the earliest as a humanitarian concern.
(8) The two sides reaffirmed that both countries will continue to work together as responsible members, including through the G-6 to achieve an early conclusion of a well-balanced WTO Doha agreement.
2. Efforts to further strengthen bilateral relations
(1) High Level Visits and Bilateral Dialogues: The External Affairs Minister of India reiterated the invitation from Prime Minister of India to the Prime Minister of Japan to visit India at an early, mutually convenient date. The Prime Minister of Japan said that he was looking forward to visiting India. The Ministers reiterated the importance of regular bilateral dialogue through established mechanisms such as Foreign Secretary Level Talks, Annual Dialogue on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism, etc. It was agreed that all these dialogue mechanisms will be convened within the year 2007.
(2) Defence and Security Cooperation: The Ministers noted with appreciation the steady development of cooperation and exchanges in the field of defence and security. In this context, they welcomed the goodwill visit of the Indian Navy ships to Japan, Defence Policy Dialogue, and developments in service-to-service cooperation, including through an annual calendar of cooperation and exchanges. They directed that the next round of the Comprehensive Security Dialogue would take place on mutually convenient dates in 2007.
The two sides endorsed the view that India and Japan must cooperate closely to ensure the safety and security of international maritime traffic vital for their economic well being as well as for the region, including through the regular exchange of visits by the Coast Guards of the two countries.
(3) Comprehensive Economic Partnership: The two sides reviewed all aspects of the comprehensive economic engagement between India and Japan under the Special Economic Partnership Initiative. They expressed their satisfaction at the initiation of the CEPA/EPA negotiations in January 2007 aiming at delivering a high-quality and mutually beneficial agreement. The 2nd round of negotiations will be held in Tokyo in April, 2007. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan conveyed that India would remain the largest recipient of the Japanese ODA loan in the current fiscal year for the fourth consecutive year and the Minister of External Affairs of India expressed his appreciation for the Japanese assistance. The Minister of External Affairs of India informed the Japanese side of Government of India's decision to implement the Dedicated Freight Corridor Project. The Japanese side showed its understanding of the importance of the project and mentioned that it would consider the possibility of assistance for this project positively based on the on-going feasibility studies.
(4) India-Japan Energy Dialogue: The Minister of External Affairs of India had a meeting with H.E. Mr. Akira Amari, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry and reached a common understanding on the modalities for the India-Japan Energy Dialogue at the Ministerial level to promote cooperation across the energy sector. Five Working Groups on 1) Electricity and Power Generation, 2) Energy Efficiency, 3) Coal, 4) Renewable Energy and 5) Petroleum and Natural Gas will be established to identify specific projects for cooperation. The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India will visit Japan in April to launch the dialogue.
(5) Bilateral Consultation Mechanism for High Technology Trade: The Minister of External Affairs of India and the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan reached a common understanding on the modalities for the bilateral consultation mechanism for high technology trade. This mechanism would facilitate bilateral high technology trade and address matters relating to respective export control systems of the two sides. The first meeting will be held in Tokyo in May 2007.
(6) People-to People Exchange: Recalling the directive given by the two Prime Ministers, the Ministers instructed concerned authorities to continue their consultations on the waiver of visas for holders of Diplomatic Passports and simplification of visa procedures to facilitate two-way travel. The signing of Memorandum on the friendship exchange relationship between Fukuoka Prefecture and Delhi State was welcomed by the two sides. The Two Foreign Ministers welcomed the successful launch of the "Japan Year in India" as well as the ongoing reciprocal festivals being organized in both countries to mark the India-Japan Friendship Year 2007. They welcomed that the steady progress had been made in the "Aso Programme". They noted the progress towards the setting-up of the consortium, of prestigious universities and companies in Japan, to assist the development of the Indian Institute of Information Technology for Design and Manufacturing at Jabalpur and reiterated that both sides should make every effort to facilitate implementation of the project.
The Minister of External Affairs of India has invited the Foreign Minister of Japan to pay a bilateral visit to India for the next round of the Strategic Dialogue at a mutually convenient time in 2008. The Japanese Foreign Minister has accepted the invitation.
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