Modi in Japan: PM Abe calls Indian premier his ‘dependable’ friend

New Delhi: Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe on Sunday stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of his most “dependable” friends and together with the Indian leader, he would like to strengthen bilateral cooperation to realise a free and open Indo-Pacific.

In a message published in Indian newspapers on the day of the two leaders’ summit meeting in Japan, Abe said India was driving the region and the world’s prosperity as a global power.

Prime Minister Modi was an outstanding leader of his great country, the Japanese premier said.

“I have always believed and stated that the relationship between Japan and India is blessed with the largest potential in the world,” he said.

Japan-India cooperation continued to expand broadly in many fields such as security, investment, information technology, agriculture, health, environment and tourism, Abe noted.

“We share a big win-win potential in all areas and Japan remains committed to supporting India’s economic growth and Prime Minister Modi’s Make in India initiative through high-speed rail, subways and other infrastructure, mobilising Japan’s world-leading technologies,” he said.

The day when Japanese Shinkansen bullet trains start running between Mumbai and Ahmedabad through cooperation will mark a shining symbol of Japan-India friendship in the future, Abe added.

“Prime Minister Modi, who is currently visiting Japan since yesterday, is one of my most dependable and valuable friends. On behalf of the entire Japanese government, I have the pleasure of extending him the warmest hospitality,” the Japanese leader’s message read.

“Together with Prime Minister Modi, I would like to further strengthen Japan-India cooperation to realise a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Abe said.

India-Japan ties amid trade, security worries

  • “The India-Japan partnership has been fundamentally transformed and it has been strengthened as a ‘special strategic and global partnership,’” Modi told Kyodo News service. “There are no negatives but only opportunities in this relationship which are waiting to be seized.”
  • Modi chose Japan among the first nations to visit after taking power four years ago. He has been urging countries in the Indo-Pacific region to unite against protectionism and cross-border tensions.
  • In another sign of closer relations, India and Japan are also set to hold their first joint military exercises involving ground forces, starting next month.
  • Japan’s investment in India has room to grow. Japan is helping India build a super-fast railway system. Abe has made bolstering and opening the nation’s economy central to his policies called “Abenomics,” and has encouraged trade, foreign investment and tourism.
  • Although Japan has long seen the US as its main ally, especially in defense, Abe is courting other ties. He has also been vocal about free trade, which runs counter to Trump’s moves to raise tariffs.

(With input from agencies)