India's prime minister embarks on Japan visit

Defence, nuclear and infrastructure cooperation high on agenda of Narendra Modi's five-day visit to Japan.

    India's prime minister embarks on Japan visit
    Modi has said that the two nations could "upgrade" their relations in the fields of defence and security [EPA]

    India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in Japan on a five-day official visit, with defence, nuclear and infrastructure cooperation being high on bilateral agenda.

    Modi arrived at Kansai International Airport near Osaka, western Japan, on Saturday by special plane for a night in the nearby ancient city of Kyoto where he was to have an unofficial dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a foreign ministry official said.

    The Indian leader will visit historic sites and an academic institution in Kyoto on Sunday before moving to Tokyo for meetings on Monday with Japanese government and business leaders, including a summit with Abe, the official said.

    Abe and Modi are expected to affirm cooperation in ensuring a "peaceful and stable maritime order," a Japanese official told Kyodo news agency.

    Both nations hope to curb Beijing's rising activity in the East and South China seas and the Indian Ocean.

    In New Delhi, Modi told Japanese media in an interview on Friday that the two nations could "upgrade" their relations in the fields of defence and security.

    "I see in the recent changes in Japan's defence export policies and regulations a possibility to engage in a new era of cooperation in high-end defence technology and equipment," he said.

    In the summit meeting, the two prime ministers are likely to agree on launching a "two-plus-two" security consultative framework involving their foreign and defence ministers, according to Kyodo.

    Japan already has such arrangements with the United States, Australia, Russia and France.

    Abe and Modi are also expected to discuss a possible Indian purchase of Japanese-made US-2 amphibian planes.

    During Modi's trip, his first bilateral visit outside South Asia since taking office in May, the two countries will seek to conclude talks for a civil nuclear pact that would allow Tokyo to export nuclear-related technology to New
    Delhi, Kyodo said.

    On the economic front, Abe is expected to pitch Japan's high-speed bullet train technology, Kyodo said.

    SOURCE: AFP


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