Remarks by H.E. Dr. Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan, at the Luncheon Hosted by H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India

Delhi, 29 December 2009

Your Excellency Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mrs. Gursharan Kaur,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I have thoroughly enjoyed your kind hospitality throughout my visit, Mr. Prime Minister. And I am most grateful for being invited to this wonderful luncheon to conclude my stay.

Perhaps one need not even mention the examples of great epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to appreciate how rich the linguistic traditions are in India and how great the value that Indian people place on dialogue is. I am very happy that I got to spend time with Prime Minister Singh once again in our summit meeting, engaging each other in a meaningful dialogue on a wide range of issues.

Dialogue forms the backbone of democracy. In this regard, please allow me to quote you, Mr. Prime Minister, from your speech at the Japanese Diet three years ago; "never before have over a billion people tried to banish poverty and modernise their society and economy within the framework of a plural democracy." India is the world's largest democracy. And your country boasts a long-standing history of power changing hands through elections without undermining either political or social stability. Japan, too, has been a democratic nation for a long time. And this year, we in Japan finally brought about a change of government, which is something we have not managed to do before, although it really ought to be a common occurrence in a democratic nation.

Mr. Prime Minister, you have great respect for pluralism, coming from a "spirit of tolerance" that has been passed down in your society over many generations. You make a point of reaching out to the vulnerable sections of society in your pursuit of an "inclusive growth," just as you are leading India in achieving robust economic growth.

For my part, I always aim to practice the politics of yu-ai, or fraternity, to ensure that people's lives matter more than anything and that people can co-exist and live in dignity. I made a promise to the Japanese people that I would create a society where we treasure each and every human life and where people view others' happiness as their own. The philosophy of yu-ai holds that we should respect the freedom and dignity of others as much as we do our own. In other words, it is a philosophy of "independence as well as coexistence."

I cannot help but feel that this spirit of yu-ai resonates profoundly with the kind of society that Prime Minister Singh aspires to. Both of us are striving to achieve a society where there is a sense of "acceptance," or might I use the beautiful Sanskrit word swikriti, of diverse values. Both of us want politics to care deeply about people's lives.

The Prime Minister and I agreed to enhance our "strategic and global partnership" and step up our bilateral relationship further. It is to my great pleasure that we reaffirmed, both in the summit meeting itself and in the form of a joint statement, to work together in a broad range of policy areas; covering everything from political and security issues, economic matters such as an EPA, development cooperation through the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project and other projects, to global challenges including climate change, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and UN Security Council reform.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude once again for the gracious hospitality that the government and people of India accorded to me and my delegation. I wish Prime Minister Singh and everyone around this table good health and success, and offer my most sincere wishes for the prosperity of India. I wholeheartedly look forward to the further development of the ties between Japan and India.

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