Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: India and Japan on Wednesday signed two joint statements. The first reaffirmed their commitment to stepping up security and economic ties.

In defence, both would engage at four levels – high-level political and bureaucratic visits, strengthening of exchange of defence personnel, increased cooperation between the coast guards and further cooperation in the security field, with focus on sea lanes, trans-national crimes and checking proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

On the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Shinzo Abe decided to work closely for establishing a fund to carry out a study.

On the Dedicated Rail Freight Corridor, Mr. Abe promised to examine the possibility of a loan. Other issues covered include the East Asian Summit initiative and the threat posed to security by North Korea.

The joint statement on environment protection outlines the Japanese approach to climate change (the “Cool Earth 50” initiative) and resolves to engage on energy saving and efficiency, together with infrastructure building in the power sector.

Dr. Singh and Mr. Abe urged their Energy Ministers to intensify their dialogue. However, there were differences in approach between both countries over the “Cool Earth 50” proposal.

Pranab calls on Abe

Earlier, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee called on Mr. Abe and told him that India hoped to intensify and deepen cooperation with Japan on the security side, especially in strengthening the security in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, two potential choke points for sea-bound cargo in South East Asia.

Mr. Abe said the transformation of the Japanese Defence Agency into the Ministry of Defence symbolised the confidence in Japan of civilian control over the military.

The Japanese Prime Minister called on President Pratibha Patil.