This is the fourth summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. Modi and Abe altogether met 10 times. This is the 12th edition of India-Japan annual summit. Prime Minister’s home state Gujarat is leaving no stone un-turned to welcome Abe.
Here are the six things you need to know about the visit:
1) Public reception- all planning overseen by PM to the minute detail
Two years after Prime Minister Modi hosted Chinese president in Ahmedabad, Japanese prime minister Abe is being given a public reception. From the airport Abe will be taken on a roadshow, rarest of rare welcome, accorded to a visiting dignitary. The 8-km route has been decked up to welcome the two leaders. And roadshow goes beyond things Gujarat. Over 25 stages have been installed throughout the stretch for performances by artistes from various states donning their traditional attire. Modi will host Abe and his wife at terrace restaurant Agashiye, at the heritage hotel House of Mangaldas and Girdhardas. It is located across the road of Sidi Saiyyed Ni Jali, a monument which has become identity of Ahmedabad. The PM has overseen the planning of the programme and the almost all of government’s protocol machinery is in town to prepare the visit.
2) Bullet train
India’s ambitious High Speed Rail (HSR) project is now at the take-off stage, coinciding with the visit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will lay the foundation stone of the 508-km long Mumbai-Ahmadabad High Speed Rail in Ahmedabad on Thursday. Once complete (scheduled in December 2023) the train which will have a top speed of 350 km per hour will reduce travel time between the two cities to around 2 hours from the existing 7 hours. The project is mostly on Japanese soft loan. But Japanese would also be happy as their high technology is under stiff competition from China and South Korea, who are trying to build similar rail corridors across the world
3) Expanding development cooperation
An ambitious agenda is on the cards at the summit, with Japan expressing its willingness to scale up its partnership in key flagship projects such as Make in India, Skill India and the Clean Ganga Mission. Most of it would be in continuation of the developmental-cooperation trajectory the two leaders had arrived at in 2015. India would benefit from Japanese technology on various sectors and now focus is on expanding the Japanese aid to India in areas such enviornment protection, sewage building, forest protection. Japanese are also keen on expanding the development cooperation to the north eastern parts of India
4) International cooperation/third country projects
Both the sides will also strive to enhance their international cooperation in Asian and African countries, with a sharp focus on infrastructural projects. This development comes in the wake of China aggressively pushing ahead with its one-road-one-belt connectivity project, which was boycotted by India but endorsed by its South-Asian neighbours like Sri Lanka and Nepal. “While Indian companies enjoy a large presence in Africa, Japanese companies possess advanced technologies. If we come together there, it could be a win-win situation for both countries,” Kenji Hiramatsu, the Japanese ambassador to India, told Hindustan Times in a recent interview.
Incidentally, the fact that the African Union has 54 members – one-third of the United Nations’ total membership – can even help India and Japan achieve their dream of becoming permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. China is already expanding its economic and strategic influence in the resource-rich continent. Its new military base in Djibouti — the first in the region — has raised global concerns over the Xi Jinping government’s strategic intentions for Africa.
5) Expanding strategic and military cooperation.
Japan has remained a key strategic partner for India. The two countries also part of a trilateral military exercise with US (malabar exercise). Efforts are on to expand the cooperation into joint defence production-- a topic under discussion for years but needs a definite boost at the high level.
6) Benefit for Gujarat.
An agreement between the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Gujarat Maritime Board for developing the Alang shipbuilding yard, besides the establishment of two industrial parks, will be on the table during Abe’s visit.
According to Gujarat Chief Secretary, J N Singh, 15 Japanese companies are keen to invest in Gujarat and will be signing agreements with the state government. Some of these companies include Moresco, Toyoda Gosei, Topre and Murakami.
(Source: The Times Of India)