India, Japan ink eight agreements, agree to strengthen defence links

New Delhi, Jan 25: India and Japan inked eight agreements, including Japanese soft loans for power projects, agreed to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation and to launch regular national security advisor-level consultations, according to a joint statement after talks between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here Saturday.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “acknowledged the announcement of Japan’s National Security Strategy and the establishment of the National Security Council (NSC).

“The two prime ministers expressed satisfaction with the launch of regular consultations between the secretary-general of National Security Secretariat of Japan and India’s national security advisor,” the statement said.

The two prime ministers “reaffirmed their determination to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation” and welcomed the decision of the two defence ministers to realize the visit of Indian minister to Japan within 2014.

Both expressed satisfaction over the India-Japan-US trilateral dialogue being held regularly and that the third two plus two dialogue between their defence and foreign ministries and the fourth Defence Policy Dialogue to be held this year.

Both confirmed to hold the second meeting of India-Japan Bilateral Talks on Cyber-affairs this spring to further explore possible areas of cooperation.

The two prime ministers welcomed the successful holding of the second bilateral exercise between the Indian Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) in December last year off Chennai and proposed to hold the next exercise in the Pacific Ocean this year.

Both welcomed the holding of the second Joint Working Group (JWG) on the US-2 amphibian aircraft in Japan March 2014.

They both welcomed the expansion of the bilateral currency swap arrangement from $15 to $50 billion and signing of the contract for its entry into force in January 2014.

Manmohan Singh expressed his appreciation to the government and the people of Japan for their continued and unwavering support to India’s development.

The two expressed satisfaction with the progress of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project, being funded by Japan.

Manmohan Singh appreciated Japan’s high level of expertise and technology of High Speed Railway (Shinkansen) system and noted its interest in introducing it in India. He conveyed that India will plan such projects based on its infrastructure priorities, commercial viability and financial resources.

Both leaders discussed the possibility of cooperation in building infrastructure that will enhance connectivity and regional integration between India and its neighbours.

The two expressed satisfaction with the successful outcomes of the 7th India-Japan Energy Dialogue, and welcomed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

On civil nuclear cooperation, both welcomed the substantial progress in talks and directed their officials to exert further efforts towards the agreement’s early conclusion. Both also reaffirmed their shared commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Abe stressed the importance of bringing into force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) at an early date, while Manmohan Singh reiterated India’s commitment to its unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing.

They also reaffirmed their commitment to working together for immediate commencement and an early conclusion of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). They also supported the strengthening of international cooperation to address the challenges of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.

Abe recognized India’s sound non-proliferation record, and both sides expressed commitment to work together for India to become a full member in the international export control regimes: the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement, with the aim of strengthening the international non-proliferation efforts.

Reaffirming their support for the East Asia Summit (EAS) as a forum for dialogue on broad strategic, political and economic issues of common interest and concern, they also welcomed the launch of a bilateral dialogue on ASEAN affairs.

The two prime ministers reiterated their countries’ commitment to the freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce and peaceful settlement of disputes based on the principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

They noted with satisfaction the ongoing bilateral exchanges on maritime affairs including counter-piracy activities.

They also reemphasized their resolve to work towards early reform of the United Nations, including the expansion of the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories.

–Indo-Asian news Service

rn/vd

IANS