National Defence Bureau,
New Delhi, 08 December 2017
Elaborating upon Japan’s role in the shifting geopolitics in Asia, the Japanese Ambassador to India, Kenji Hiramatsu today said that his country’s ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’ is a statement of Japan’s aim of improving the inter-regional and intra-regional connectivity and promoting fundamental values like freedom, openness and Rule of Law in the region.
Hiramatsu was speaking at a one-day symposium on ‘Shifting Geopolitics in Asia: India-Japan Relations and the Future of Indo-Pacific Region’, organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), along with the Japan Foundation in New Delhi, on December 8, 2017.
Delving deeper into the dynamic relationship between India and Japan, Hiramatsu observed that India’s Act East Policy synergises well with Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy, and acts as a key partner in promoting peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. The two nations share the common vision of connectivity enhancement in the region and Japan would further like to expand cooperation in connectivity infrastructure development with the countries in the Indian Ocean region and beyond.
Speaking further, the Ambassador emphasised upon the need for strengthening not just sea, but also land connectivity. Japan and India have launched the Act East Forum to foster people to people exchanges, which in a way will also strengthen land connectivity, he noted.
Citing the success of the Malabar tri-lateral naval exercise, involving India, Japan and the United States, the Ambassador expressed optimism that defence cooperation between the two nations would continue to show concrete progress. On the growing menace of terrorism and extremism, the ambassador said that Japan firmly stands with India in its efforts to combat terrorism.
Also speaking on the occasion, Director General, Japan Foundation, New Delhi, Kaoru Miyamoto expressed hope that the symposium would provide a whole new perspective to India-Japan bilateral relations and would lead to further enhancing the relationship between the two nations.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Deputy Director General, IDSA, Maj Gen Alok Deb (Retd) described India and Japan as anchors of stability at each ends of the Indo-Pacific, as the world undergoes a huge transition. Both the nations are engaged bilaterally and multilaterally with others to manage traditional, as well as non-traditional security challenges, and with the convergence of India’s Act East Policy and Japan’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, both nations stand united as strategic partners.
Expanding on the idea of shared prosperity, the two nations have announced the Japan and India Vision 2025 that envisages a special strategic and global partnership, which would work to achieve peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, said the Deputy Director General.
A number of experts from Japan and India participated in the Symposium to discuss India-Japan relations in the context of Asia and beyond.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.