India and Japan are among the major actors in the India-Pacific region and it is the responsibility of both countries to foster a climate of peace, stability and cooperation and to lay an enduring foundation for security and prosperity. Both nations should strengthen regional mechanisms and forums that would help develop habits of consultation and cooperation, enable them to evolve commonly accepted principles for managing differences, reinforce congruence in the region and allow both to address common challenges, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
He was addressing the Japan-India Association, the Japan-India Parliamentary Friendship League and the International Friendship Exchange Council here on Tuesday.
Dr. Singh said:
“We should promote wider and deeper regional economic integration and enhance regional connectivity. This will promote more balanced and broad-based economic development across the region and contribute to a more balanced regional architecture.
“Maritime security across the linked regions of the Indian and Pacific Oceans is essential for regional and global prosperity. We should, therefore, uphold the principles of freedom of navigation and unimpeded lawful commerce in accordance with international law, resolve maritime issues peacefully and work together more purposefully to harness the potential of the seas and address common sea-based challenges such as piracy.”
The world had a huge stake in Japan’s success in restoring the momentum of its growth. Tokyo’s continued leadership in enterprise, technology and innovation and ability to remain the locomotive of Asian renaissance were crucial. For almost two decades, Japan’s economy was faced with an unprecedented stagflation and was finding it hard for a formula to change the status quo.
“India’s relations with Japan are important not only for our economic development, but also because we see Japan as a natural and indispensable partner in our quest for stability and peace in the vast region in Asia that is washed by the Pacific and Indian Oceans,” Dr. Singh said.
He noted that India and Japan had increasingly convergent world views and growing stakes in each other’s prosperity and shared interests in maritime security as both faced similar challenges to energy security. “There are strong synergies between our economies, which need an open, rule-based international trading system to prosper. Together, we seek a new architecture for the United Nations Security Council.”
Defence and security dialogue, military exercises and defence technology collaboration between the two countries should grow and both should consult and coordinate more closely on global and regional forums.
On the widening trade deficit, which was heavily skewed in favour of Japan, he argued that greater investment by Japanese companies in India’s large market would be in the economic and strategic interest of both. Such consideration should also guide closer engagement in high-technology commerce, clean energy, energy security and skill development.
Japan’s rise as a modern, knowledge-based industrial power was a source of inspiration to India. India’s gradual, but sustained, economic rise had created new opportunities for both countries to cooperate and work together. India needed Japanese technology and investment. In turn, India offered increasing opportunities for the growth and globalisation of Japanese companies for the overall prosperity and growth of Japan.