Visit to Japan of His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India (Summary)

December 15, 2006

1. Itinerary

(1) His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, was received in audience by Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress.

(2) A welcome ceremony was held in the south garden of the Prime Minister's Office with the participation of many cabinet ministers.

(3) Prime Minister Singh delivered a speech at the Diet of Japan. He spoke of his resolve to strengthen Japan-India relations and set out a path for such efforts. In addition, in an off-the-cuff remark he also mentioned India's commitment to universal nuclear disarmament.

(4) Prime Minister Singh attended a welcome luncheon jointly hosted by five economic organizations of Japan. In addition, 70 business representatives who had accompanied Prime Minister Singh's delegation paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.

(5) The joint opening ceremony for the Japan-India Friendship Year 2007 was held with the attendance of Prime Minister Abe and his wife, at which the Joint Logo for the Friendship Year was unveiled.

(6) Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Aso, Minister of Finance Koji Omi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akira Amari, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki each individually paid courtesy calls on Prime Minister Singh.

(7) Mr. Yoshiro Mori, former Prime Minister and President of the Indo-Japanese Association, Dr. Taro Nakayama, President of the Japan-Indo Parliamentarians' Friendship League, and Mr. Akihiro Ota, Chief Representative of the New Komeito Party, also paid courtesy calls on Prime Minister Singh.

2. Summit Meeting

The two leaders confirmed that common values such as democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law, as well as a wide-ranging commonality of interests, formed the basis for Japan-India relations and that bilateral relations were imbued with tremendous potential. The two leaders agreed to raise their bilateral relations to "Strategic and Global Partnership." Towards that objective, the two leaders signed a Joint Statement (PDF) which sets out specific efforts in the areas of politics and security, economy, and people-to-people exchanges. The major efforts to be made as outlined in the Joint Statement were agreed as follows.

(1) Summit-level meetings will be held on an annual basis in the respective capitals. Prime Minister Singh extended an invitation to Prime Minister Abe to visit India during the course of 2007, and Prime Minister Abe responded that he would be delighted to accept the invitation.

(2) Agreement to launch negotiations on an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) immediately and to expedite these negotiations aiming to complete them in substance as soon as possible within approximately two years.

(3) Agreement to promote "Japan-India Special Economic Partnership Initiative (SEPI)," which, recognizing the need to continue to provide as much assistance as possible to India's economic development, includes infrastructure development in order to promote Japanese business investment in India, and human resources development seeking to strengthen India's manufacturing industry, among other contents.

(4) Agreement to establish a "Business Leaders' Forum," comprising members designated by both leaders as a means of deepening cooperation at the business level.

(5) In the area of people-to-people and cultural exchanges, agreement to take advantage of the Japan-India Friendship Year 2007 to hold a variety of events designed to broaden exchange, as well as efforts to increase tourism and youth exchanges and the number of civil aviation flights between the two countries.

(6) With regard to regional and international cooperation, confirmation that the two countries would continue to cooperate in the areas of United Nations reform, the East Asia Summit framework, disarmament and non-proliferation, and anti-terrorism efforts, and agreement to implement Strategic Dialogue at the Foreign Minister-level. Furthermore, in addition to expressing shared grave concern over the recent nuclear test conducted by North Korea, the two countries confirmed that they would cooperate towards the full implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution, and agreed to strongly urge that the abduction issue, as a humanitarian concern, be resolved as early as possible.

(7) Agreement on the usefulness of having dialogue among Japan, India, and other like-minded countries in the Asia-Pacific region on themes of mutual interest.

(8) With regard to the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, Prime Minister Abe conveyed to Prime Minister Singh that Japan's stance on this issue was still under consideration and that it was important for India to engage with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in a way that would respond to the concerns of the international community. The two sides would continue discussions on this issue in international fora and bilateral meetings.

3. Courtesy call by Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Aso

Foreign Minister Aso paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Singh. During the call, the following topics were covered, among others: (1) agreement on the importance of implementing strategic dialogue at the foreign minister-level at the earliest opportunity; (2) the fact that the interim report on the feasibility study for the Project for Dedicated Multimodal High Axle Load Freight Corridors with Computerised Control Between Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah that had been prioritized by Prime Minister Singh had been completed; (3) the aim to expand the "Aso Programme," with the objective of sponsoring visits of 5,000 persons between Japan and India over the next three years; and (4) that assistance for the Indian Institute of Information Technology for Design and Manufacturing at Jabalpur would be put on track.

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