NEW DELHI – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrived in India on a two-day visit on Monday. Kishida was received and greeted by Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar at the airport in Delhi. Kishida will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also deliver a speech on Japan’s Indo-Pacific strategy and its new defence posture.
Fifteen years ago PM Shinzo Abe first spoke about Indo-Pacific cooperation during his visit to Delhi. Both the prime ministries will also take a walk together at the Buddha Jayanti park in Delhi to visit the Bal Bodhi tree, a venerated tree with deep roots to Gautam Buddha’s time. Ties between India and Japan were elevated to ‘Global Partnership’ in 2000, ‘Strategic and Global Partnership’ in 2006, and ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ in 2014.
Both countries have conducted regular yearly summits since 2006. (the last Annual Summit was held in March 2022 in New Delhi). The Japanese PM will make joint statements with his Indian counterpart. Taking to his Twitter handle, Kishida said that he will hold a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two leaders will discuss bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest, the Ministry of External Affairs said in an official release on March 10.
Kishida said that that during his stay in India, he will announce a new plan for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. He said that they will present ideas about the future of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific. “In addition, during my stay in India, I will announce a new plan on Free and Open Indo-Pacific. We will present concrete ideas about the future of FOIP at this historical turning point,” Kishida tweeted. At a press briefing on Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that Japan is a “very important partner” and he stressed that India looks forward to the exchange of views. He did not reveal details regarding the talking points of the discussion that will take place between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart. “We look forward to the visit of the honourable Prime Minister of Japan that’s on Monday. As you know, Japan is our very important partner. We have annual summits with them and this is part of that. They are also partners in plurilateral and multilateral constructs so we look forward to a rich discussion. We look forward to the exchange of views,” Bagchi said.
Since the last meeting between India and Japan held in March 2022, now is a significant time to engage on a bilateral level as both New Delhi and Tokyo are holding the Presidencies of the G20 and G7, respectively. The partnership between both countries ranges in various sectors, including defence and security, trade and investment, Science and Technology, Education, healthcare, and critical and emerging technologies.