India indispensable for peace and stability in Indo-Pacific: Japanese PM

Fumio Kishida also noted PM Narendra Modi's message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that 'today's era is not of war'.

March 20, 2023 04:41 pm | Updated 04:41 pm IST - New Delhi

India is indispensable for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and no country should use force or coercion in trying to drive their territorial claims, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday after unveiling his plan for the region.

Delivering the 41st Sapru House lecture, Mr. Kishida also strongly condemned Russia's aggression against Ukraine and said global principles of respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity must be adhered to in every corner of the world.

Delving into the Ukraine conflict, Mr. Kishida also noted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that 'today's era is not of war'.

The Japanese Prime Minister delivered the lecture in the presence of a gathering of top diplomats, envoys and strategic affairs experts, hours after holding wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Modi on further strengthening the India-Japan 'Special Strategic and Global Partnership'.

"India is indispensable," Kishida said while elaborating on his vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The Japanese Prime Minister also said that Tokyo will collaborate closely with New Delhi in contributing to stability in the South Asian region.

"Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) is a vision gaining traction. The FOIP is a visionary concept. It is to defend rule of law and freedom," he said.

Mr. Kishida said countries must follow the UN principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and peaceful resolution of disputes.

"Peace is paramanout. The principles such as respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and opposition to unilateral changes to status quo by force must be followed. The principles should be adhered to in every corner of the world," Kishida said.

His comments came amid increasing global concerns over the Russian invasion of Ukraine and China's military muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific.

Mr. Kishida said states should not use force or coercion in trying to drive their claims at sea.

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