Underlining that India-Japan cultural ties go back several centuries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said deep links helped in laying a strong foundation for a modern partnership between the two countries at a time when New Delhi and Tokyo celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.
Writing an Op-Ed for a Japanese publication on the vibrant bilateral relations, the Prime Minister traced the journey of the India-Japan special friendship.
"Special. Strategic. Global," PM used three words to describe the India-Japan partnership that has a unique significance while adding that they too fall well short of the true potential of bilateral ties.
"As we mark 70 years of diplomatic relations, we are also building one of the defining partnerships of our region. I am confident that my meeting with PM Kishida will lead to tangible progress in realising this ambitious agenda," he said.
While noting the historical ties that go back centuries, PM Modi said a firm shared belief in the values of democracy, freedom, and a rules-based international order, as well as convergence in the regional and global outlook, are the bedrock of ties between India and Japan as trusted and natural partners.
"These deep links laid a strong foundation for a modern India-Japan partnership that continues to blossom even as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic ties, '' PM Modi wrote.
In the opinion piece, the Prime Minister talked about his own conviction regarding this partnership which began in 'my early days as Chief Minister of Gujarat'. He said that it was not just the sophistication of Japanese technology and skills, but also the seriousness and long-term commitment of Japan's leadership and businesses, that made Japan Gujarat's preferred industrial partner and the most prominent presence in Vibrant Gujarat Summits since its inception.
PM Modi stressed that Japan has also proved to be an invaluable partner in India's journey on the path of development and modernization. "From the automobile sector to industrial corridors, Japanese investments and development assistance have a truly pan-India footprint. The iconic Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail project symbolises Japan's extensive collaboration in some of the most important endeavours to build a New India," noted PM Modi.
"We have traversed a long distance since we established diplomatic relations in 1952. In my view, though, the best is yet to come. Today, as both India and Japan look to re-invigorate and refashion our economies in a post-Covid era, there is immense scope to deepen our engagement across the entire spectrum from trade and investment to defence and security,"
In the last few years, PM Modi said India has embarked on a journey to build a strong foundation for the manufacturing sector, services, agriculture and digital technology infrastructure. The Prime Minister said he views Japan as an indispensable partner in India's continuing transformation.
"For Japan, India's speed and scale combine with the ease of doing business, attractive incentives, bold reforms and ambitious plans to create unmatched opportunities. We have also fostered a dynamic startup ecosystem in India, with over 100 unicorns. The Japanese capital is already playing an important role in this effort. And there is potential for a great deal more," he said.
Appreciating the people-to-people links between India-Japan, PM Modi said many Indians are now working in Japan and contributing to the Japanese economy and society, just as Japanese executives are contributing to economic development in India. "I am convinced that such complementarities can be enhanced manifold."
He further noted that India-Japan partnership has a greater imperative and serves a larger purpose.
"The Covid pandemic, global tensions and disruptive challenges to stability and security in our own Indo-Pacific region have underlined the need for building resilient supply chains, a human-centric development model and stable and strong international economic relations, capable of resisting coercion and exploitation. Our partnership will help advance these goals," he said.
"In doing so, we will also contribute towards building an open, free and inclusive Indo Pacific region, connected by secure seas, integrated by trade and investment, defined by respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity and anchored in international law," he added.
Further emphasizing the importance of the strategically located Indo-Pacific region, the Prime Minister said both the countries can be important pillars of the region. "That is why our partnership is expanding across a broad range of areas. Our defence ties are growing rapidly, from exercises and information exchanges to defence manufacturing. We are doing more in cyber, space and underwater domains."
Besides security, PM Modi said together with like-minded partners in the region and beyond, in institutions and arrangements like Quad, all member countries are promoting initiatives for development, infrastructure, connectivity, sustainability, health, vaccines, capacity building and humanitarian disaster response in the region. "A peaceful and prosperous Indo Pacific region will be critical for a better future for the entire world."
Lastly, PM Modi further pointed out that crises tend to magnify challenges and accelerate our transition to the future.
"For this reason, at this pivotal moment for the world, our partnership now faces larger responsibility and greater urgency. Based on all that we share dearly and all that we have built over decades, India and Japan are ready to respond to this calling," he spelt out.
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