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In Australia, India and Japan bat for a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’, plan Kishida’s visit to New Delhi

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with Japan's Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Melbourne on Friday (Image courtesy: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan)

India and Japan today agreed to deepen cooperation through multi-layered dialogue and the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to India later this year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Japan's Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi finally held their first face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of the Quad Foreign Ministers' meeting in Melbourne on Friday after having two telephone conversations over the past few weeks.

In an interaction which lasted 45 minutes, the two ministers welcomed "the frank discussions" to enliven Japan-India partnership and also reaffirmed to work closely with each other along with Quad partners Australia and the United States towards the realisation of a 'Free and Open Indo-Pacific'.

"In particular, they concurred to cooperate to enhance connectivity through the Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative and Japan-India cooperation in third countries," said the Japanese Foreign Ministry in a statement.

Hayashi stated it is becoming more important for both the countries, who share the basic values and have advocated the importance of rule-based order, to address common challenges under the 'Special Strategic and Global Partnership' in this "increasingly uncertain international community".

Fumio Kishida

Jaishankar mentioned that the 70th anniversary is the opportunity to strengthen the Japan-India ties even further and he is keen to expand the cooperation with Japan in various fields toward realising a 'Free and Open Indo-Pacific'.

"The two ministers reiterated the importance of resuming the annual mutual visit of both leaders by realising Prime Minister Kishida's visit to India at an appropriate timing that is convenient for both sides," said the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

In addition, the two ministers concurred to hold the next round of India-Japan Foreign and Defence Ministerial meeting (2+2) to promote cooperation in the field of security besides deepening cooperation through multi-layered dialogues and meetings areas like cyber, space, maritime, disarmament and non-proliferation and UN Security Council.

"Good to meet FM Hayashi in person. Our conversation followed up on two virtual discussions. We prepare for our Annual Summit of Leaders," tweeted Jaishankar Friday afternoon.

India and Japan today also reaffirmed their commitment to promote economic cooperation including in digital, climate change countermeasures, healthcare, as well as economic security cooperation in the fields such as Beyond 5G, undersea cables, and supply chain resilience.

In addition, both Jaishankar and Hayashi spoke on the ongoing partnership in India's North Eastern region and steadily advancing the High-Speed Rail Project, the flagship project of Japan and India.

They also shared views to promote people-to-people interactions and cultural exchanges, including the utilization of the talented IT workers and the Specified Skilled Workers of India, while taking advantage of various opportunities of the 70th anniversary.

"The two ministers exchanged views on cooperation in regional affairs such as Myanmar and international cooperation including WTO, disarmament and non-proliferation, UN Security Council reform," the statement added.

As reported by IndiaNarrative.com earlier, just like his predecessors Shinzo Abe and Yoshihide Suga, Kishida values Japan's association with India which has been strengthened by shared values of belief in democracy.

This was the third in-person meeting of Quad Foreign Ministers, following Tokyo in October 2020 and the inaugural meeting in New York City in September 2019. The ministers last met virtually in February 2021.

Also Read: Following Shinzo Abe's footsteps, Japan's new PM Fumio Kishida will be another 'friend of India for life'