In PM Modi, Shinzo Abe’s India-Japan Dialogue, A Message For China

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PM Modi and Shinzo Abe agreed to initiate 2+2 dialogue involving foreign and defence ministers.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe Monday held "fruitful and extensive" talks on Monday, discussing issues of bilateral interest, the Indo-Pacific region and threats posed by nuclear terrorism. Signing several agreements including naval cooperation and a high speed rail project, India and Japan agreed to seek closer economic and military ties in an effort to balance China's weight in the region.

"The two leaders' vision for the Indo-Pacific is based on a rules-based order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, ensures freedom of navigation and overflight as well as unimpeded lawful commerce, and seeks peaceful resolution of disputes…without resorting to threat or use of force," said the India-Japan Vision Statement issued after the talks in an apparent hint at China's stand over the South China Sea disputes.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea and also laid claims on the Senkaku islands under the control of Japan in the East China Sea. Chinese ships routinely patrol around the Senkaku Islands. China has resorted to aggressive patrols in the last few years. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the South China Sea.

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But Mr Abe hosted PM Modi days after he went to Beijing where held talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping. Mr Abe's visit — the first by any Japanese prime minister since 2011 — was aimed at repairing ties that have been riven by disputes over territory, military expansion in the Pacific and World War II history.

PM Modi and Mr Abe agreed to initiate 2+2 dialogue involving their foreign and defence ministers. India has a similar agreement with the US and the two sides held the first round of 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi last month.

The two leaders reviewed the progress made on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project, which is an important symbol of India-Japan collaboration. The two sides also signed an agreement on the implementing arrangement for deeper cooperation between the Indian Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

The formal summit between Modi and Abe came a day after the two prime ministers spent about eight hours together at a picturesque resort near Mount Fuji in Yamanashi prefecture discussing ties between the two countries and ways to deepen strategic dimension of the bilateral relationship.

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