RCEP still on Japan’s agenda

Ground work:External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi in Nagoya.TwitterTwitter  

Japanese officials are going to make another attempt to make India revise its decision not to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), while Indo-Japanese maritime and military initiatives, the Indo-pacific policy, and joint projects in Sri Lanka, the Maldives and other countries will be discussed at a series of meetings leading up to Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit next month.

External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is in Nagoya for the G-20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting on November 22 and 23, and there he met his counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi on Friday. On November 30, Mr. Jaishankar will hold another meeting with Mr. Motegi, on the sidelines of the Inaugural ‘2+2’ ministerial-level India-Japan dialogue, which will include the Foreign and Defence Ministers, in Delhi. And in mid-December, Mr. Abe will travel to India for the annual India-Japan summit.

“We are confident that this summit would lead to further strengthening of the India-Japan strategic partnership, special and global partnership and the 2+2 dialogue will actually feed into the main summit. So I think the discussion flowing out of the 2+2 will form an important component of what will be the main outcome during the summit,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a briefing on Thursday.

Mr. Abe is expected to pitch for India to rejoin the ASEAN-led Free Trade Agreement RCEP during the meeting. “We are not giving up yet,” said a Japanese official, who is aware of the preparations for the visit, and said the other members of the 15-nation RCEP grouping had also asked the Japanese government to try and ensure India reconsidered its position.

( With inputs from

Dinakar Peri )