New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday held talks for 40 minutes with key focus on Quad, a grouping of 4 countries–India, Japan, Australia and United states. The talks between the 2 leaders come, just days before first ever Quad leaders’ summit is expected to take place.
Taking to Twitter, PM Modi wrote, “Had a fruitful conversation with PM Suga Yoshihide on the progress of India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership. We exchanged views on contemporary global challenges and agreed to further enhance our cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Had a fruitful conversation with PM Suga Yoshihide on the progress of India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership.
We exchanged views on contemporary global challenges and agreed to further enhance our cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. @sugawitter
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 9, 2021
The statement released by India readout emphasized that their engagement with like-minded countries such as Australia and the US in the form of Quad “holds value” and “agreed that these useful discussions must continue.”
The Japanese read out also spoke on similar lines. It said, two leaders shared the “recognition” that cooperation towards “realizing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific” is becoming “increasingly important and to this end” and shared the view to “steadily advance both Japan-India bilateral cooperation and Japan-Australia-India-U.S. quadrilateral cooperation.”
So far, three foreign ministers’ level conversations have taken place, two of them physical meetings–one in New York in 2019, another in Tokyo last year and one telephonic conversation just last month. The grouping is seen suspiciously by Beijing, even terming it “Asian Nato”.
During the talks, discussion was also on the Mumbai Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) project or the bullet train which PM Modi said is a “shining example of India-Japan bilateral strategic partnership and expressed his commitment to its successful implementation.”
Japan PM is expected to visit India for the annual India Japan summit. The summit has been postponed 2 times in last 2 years.
The Japanese readout pointed that during the talks, Prime Minister Suga expressed “serious concerns” regarding “unilateral attempts” to change the status quo in the East and South China Sea, China’s Coast Guard Law and the situation in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
Importantly, both leaders discussed the situation in Myanmar also, a key global issue. The country saw a coup in February and since then visuals of violent crackdown have emerged, sparking international concerns.