Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat in New Delhi on Monday.
After paying tribute at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial, Kishida also signed the visitors’ book at Rajghat. Kishida, who is on a two-day official visit to India arrived early this morning was received and greeted by Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar at the Palam airport in the national capital.
This is Kishida’s second visit to India as Prime Minister.
Kishida will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and in their bilateral talks later in the day the two are set to discuss priorities for India’s presidency of G20 and Japan’s presidency of the G7.
“I intend to engage in a thorough exchange of views with Prime Minister Modi on the question of what role Japan and India should play within the international community,” Kishida told reporters ahead of his departure from Japan.
The Japanese PM will make joint statements with his Indian counterpart.
In addition, Prime Minister Kishida is scheduled to exchange views regarding the deepening of the “Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership” and efforts toward the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”
“With regard to bilateral Japan-India relations, I want to confirm the further deepening of the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between India and Japan,” Kishida said.
The visiting Japanese PM will also deliver a speech about the Indo-Pacific policy at a think tank here. PM Shinzo Abe initially discussed Indo-Pacific cooperation on his trip to Delhi fifteen years ago.
“I also intend to further strengthen the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between India and Japan. In addition, during my stay in India, I will announce a new plan related to the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP),” Kishida said in a tweet.
“I will clearly lay out my thinking regarding the role that a Free and Open Indo-Pacific will play at this historic turning point,” Kishida said addressing a press conference ahead of his departure from Japan.
India is a member of the Quad, which includes Australia, Japan and the US, as per a report by Kyodo News. Kishida has been eager to strengthen ties with such countries to pave the way for the success of the G7 in-person summit scheduled to be held in Hiroshima in May.
Kishida is expected to invite PM Narendra Modi to participate in the G7 in-person summit.
The Japanese prime minister’s visit in India is expected to last around 27 hours.
According to a statement made public on March 10 by the Ministry of External Affairs, the two leaders would speak about bilateral and regional matters of shared concern.
Arindam Bagchi, the official spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA), stated that Japan is a “very significant partner” and emphasised that India looks forward to exchanging views.
With both New Delhi and Tokyo currently holding the G20 and G7 Presidency, respectively, the visit of Kishida comes as an important opportunity to engage on a bilateral level since the last Summit meeting between India and Japan took place in March 2022.
Japan is a very close partner of India and both countries hold an Annual Summit and a 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting.
New Delhi and Tokyo are also a part of the Quadrilateral Strategic Dialogue (QUAD), alongside Australia and the US. It is a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan and the United States that is maintained by talks between member countries. Working with regional friends who promote a free and open Indo-Pacific is a priority for the Quad.
Furthermore, the Defence cooperation between the two nations has also emerged as one of the key areas of engagement.
In terms of commercial and economic ties, the bilateral trade between India and Japan stood at USD 20.75 billion last year, which was the largest ever.
Japan is also the fifth largest investor in India as a large number of Japanese companies are exploring opportunities in India in several sectors.