Meeting between Minister for Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono
and the Indian Minister of Defence
(Summary and Evaluation)
June 8, 2000
On June 7, for approximately 45 minutes beginning at 18:30, Minister for Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono met with the Indian Minister of Defence George Fernandes. The following is a summary and evaluation of this meeting.
1. Japan-India relations
(1) Foreign Minister Kono thanked Defence Minister Fernandes for attending the funeral of former Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi. He stated that the late Prime Minister had been actively involved in diplomacy and had thought deeply about relations between Japan and India. He also stated that Prime Minister Mori would certainly carry on his predecessor's policies.
(2) Defence Minister Fernandes said that he knew that the late Prime Minister was concerned about global issues and also that he had a special affection for India. In addition, he said Japan and India have maintained a long history of cordial relations, which would not be hindered by a single issue, and in this context that both countries have endeavored to improve bilateral relations.
(3) Defence Minister Fernandes requested a confirmation that regular security dialogues would be held, to which Foreign Minister Kono responded positively, adding that it is necessary for both countries to foster confidence building at various levels and to further develop the existing friendly relationship.
2. The issue of signing the CTBT
(1) Foreign Minister Kono said that he recognized that the Indian government had already decided to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and was endeavoring to gain a national consensus, but inquired about the Indian government's determination and the prospect for a signing.
(2) Defence Minister Fernandes stated that the Indian government was promoting a domestic campaign to build a national consensus for signing the CTBT but that matters were still not enough to persuade the parliament to ratify it. The government has been expressing its strong commitment to signing the CTBT, however, and he hoped to bring about a successful result in the near future.
3. Reciprocal visits by naval vessels
Defence Minister Fernandes expressed his desire to soon dispatch an Indian naval ship to Japan and other Asian countries as part of a program of reciprocal visits of naval vessels with other Asian countries shortly, and he requested Japan's cooperation, to which Foreign Minister Kono responded positively.
4. Continuation of economic cooperation for India
Defence Minister Fernandes asked for Japan's further favorable consideration on extending assistance to ongoing projects, to which Foreign Minister Kono responded that he would like this matter to be handled administratively.
1. Bilateral relations
Despite the difference of views on the nuclear issue, it is notable that both sides agreed on the importance of further development in Japan-India relations.
2. CTBT issue
Despite the difficulties in building a domestic consensus in India to sign the CTBT, it deserves attention as a sign of progress that the Indian government renewed its commitment to this issue and indicated prospects of reaching a consensus in the near future.
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