Manmohan Singh meets Emperor and Empress of Japan

Tokyo, May 29 (ANI): The visiting Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and his wife Gursharan Kaur called on the Emperor and the Empress of Japan.

Dr. Singh who is on a three-day visit to Japan to strengthen bilateral strategic ties, yesterday said that Japan is the only partner with whom India have a two-plus-two dialogue at the foreign and defence ministry level.

Addressing the Japan-India Association, Japan-India Parliamentary Friendship League and International Friendship Exchange Council here, Dr. Singh said: "In recent years, our political and security cooperation has gained in salience. Japan is the only partner with whom we have a two-plus-two dialogue between the foreign and defence Ministries. We have also begun bilateral exercises with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force."

Emphasising that Japan has long been part of important milestones in India's economic development efforts, Dr. Singh said: "More recently, India's gradual but sustained economic rise has created new opportunities for both our countries to cooperate and work together. India needs Japanese technology and investment. In turn, India offers increasing opportunities for the growth and globalization of Japanese companies for the overall prosperity and growth of Japan."

Stating that India's relationship with Japan has been at the heart of its Look East Policy, Dr. Singh said: " Japan inspired Asia's surge to prosperity and it remains integral to Asia's future."

"The world has a huge stake in Japan's success in restoring the momentum of its growth. Your continued leadership in enterprise, technology and innovation and your ability to remain the locomotive of Asian renaissance are crucial," he added.

He further said that relations with Japan are important not only for India's economic development, but also because New Delhi saw Tokyo as a natural and indispensable partner in "our quest for stability and peace in the vast region in Asia that is washed by the Pacific and Indian Oceans."

"Our relations draw their strength from our spiritual, cultural and civilizational affinities and a shared commitment to the ideals of democracy, peace and freedom. We have increasingly convergent world views and growing stakes in each other's prosperity. We have shared interests in maritime security and we face similar challenges to our energy security," he said.

"There are strong synergies between our economies, which need an open, rule-based international trading system to prosper. Together, we seek a new architecture for the United Nations Security Council," he added.

At the same time, this region faces multiple challenges, unresolved issues and unsettled questions, Dr. Singh, and added that the historical differences persist despite our growing inter-dependence; prosperity has not fully eliminated disparities within and between states; and there are continuing threats to stability and security.

"It is in this moment of flux and change that we also have the greatest opportunity to chart a new course for Asia in this century. With the weight of the global economy and its drivers of growth shifting to this region, its future will also shape the contours of the world in this century," he said.

Asserting that India and Japan are among the major actors in this region, Dr. Singh said: " Our shared religious, cultural and spiritual heritage embodies the principles of peace, co-existence and pluralism. It is our responsibility to foster a climate of peace, stability and cooperation and to lay an enduring foundation for security and prosperity."

Dr. Singh further suggested three areas of cooperation in this regard.

"First, we should strengthen regional mechanisms and forums that will help develop habits of consultation and cooperation, enable us to evolve commonly accepted principles for managing differences, reinforce congruence in the region and allow us to address common challenges," he said.

"Second, we should promote wider and deeper regional economic integration and enhance regional connectivity. This will promote more balanced and broad-based economic development across the region and also contribute to a more balanced regional architecture," he added.

"Third, maritime security across the linked regions of the Indian and Pacific Oceans is essential for regional and global prosperity. We should therefore uphold the principles of freedom of navigation and unimpeded lawful commerce in accordance with international law, resolve maritime issues peacefully and work together more purposefully to harness the potential of the seas and address common sea-based challenges such as piracy," he said. (ANI)

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