Narendra Modi, Shinzo Abe witness signing of civil nuclear agreement

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Japan PM Shinzo Abe at Kantei (PMO) in Tokyo on November 11
Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Japan PM Shinzo Abe at Kantei (PMO) in Tokyo on November 11

Delegation level talks have begun between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at the Kantei (PMO). During the bilateral level talks, the two leaders signed a wide range of agreements, including the civil nuclear deal.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted, “A landmark deal for a cleaner, greener world! PM Narendra Modi and PM Shinzo Abe witness exchange of the landmark Civil Nuclear Agreement.”

Before the Indo-Japan annual summit at Kantei, Modi inspected a guard of honour presented in his honour. Abe accompanied Modi during the inspection.

Earlier, Modi on November 11 called on Japanese Emperor Akihito. Swarup in a tweet said, “A rare audience that symbolises the unique warmth between India and Japan. PM Narendra Modi greets His Highness Emperor Akihito of Japan.”

“Speaking of civilisations. PM Modi and Emperor Akihito talk of the common bonds of India and Japan and the future of Asia,” he said, in another tweet.

Later, addressing the business leaders at the India-Japan Business Leaders’ Forum, Modi said that Japan has to lay a significant role as India needs scale, speed and skill. Involvement in the country’s mega projects signifies scale and speed. Skill initiatives are also underway, he said.

Mentioning his government’s progress on Goods and Service Tax, Modi said India’s progress in software was fully complemented by Japan’s increasing strength in hardware. “I want to make India the most open economy in the world,” he said. To a query, he promised a level playing field to Japanese businessmen.

Modi is meeting Abe for the eighth time in the Japanese capital ever since Modi took over. Abe, on his part, has been a ‘key salesman’ for Japan’s Shinkansen technology as he aims to triple infrastructure exports to 30 trillion yen ($287 billion) by 2020.

This has brought China and Japan in a battle of one-upmanship. With his $15 billion Ahmedabad to Mumbai bullet train rail link, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hopes to make Japan the front-runner.

While Japan is happy provide loans for the 508-km high-speed track to the economic hub of Ahmedabad, the largest city in Modi’s home state of Gujarat, Abe wants to lead in high-speed rail, an advisor to Abe. He said it’s important to get a foothold in India to outpace China, Japan’s primary competitor.

However, Modi prefers to play Japan with China and take the best for India. But, strategically speaking, India leaned towards the US and Japan, said media reports.

If Japan gets to work on this line, it may also bag India’s other high-speed rail projects. With high-speed rail, I don’t think one can have several different systems in one country.

Ahead of Modi’s visit to Japan, the Chinese official media had warned that India may suffer ‘losses’ in trade, if it joined Japan in asking China to obey the international tribunal quashing Beijing’s claims over South China Sea.