AHMEDABAD: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe started a two-day visit to India, where he and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are expected to agree on bolstering bilateral defense and maritime security cooperation amid China’s growing assertiveness in regional waters.
At the time of his stay in Modi’s home state of Gujarat, Abe is also scheduled to attend a ceremony in Ahmedabad to mark the starting of construction of a new high-speed railway employing Japanese bullet train technology. Before taking power in 2014, Modi served as chief minister of Gujarat.
One of the pivotal factor to note is that at Ahmedabad airport, Modi welcomed Abe in person with a hug before they headed for a dinner hosted by the Indian prime minster.
“I want us to take a big step so that this ‘shinkansen’ project, which heralded the start of Japan’s own rapid economic growth, will serve as a spark for further growth in India,” pointed out Abe.
Taking into consideration China’s assertive activities in the East and South China seas as well as the Indian Ocean, Abe and Modi are expected to affirm the importance of collaboration in such fields as defense equipment and trilateral joint drills involving the U.S. Navy, Japanese officials said.
Abe is keen to agree with Modi on upgrading “two-plus-two” security talks involving vice foreign and defense ministers to a ministerial-level dialogue in light of Beijing’s growing influence, Japanese government sources said Tuesday.
Both leaders are all set to agree on the need to implement a new U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution that imposes the first restrictions on exports of crude oil and petroleum products to North Korea.
Ahead of the talks, Abe is scheduled to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway Project that will use Japan’s “shinkansen” bullet train technology.
It is worthwhile mentioning that India aims for the 500-kilometer railway between the two western cities to begin operating by 2023.