By Our Diplomatic Affairs Bureau
BANGKOK/NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the Prime Minister of Japan, H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe on the margins of India-ASEAN and East Asia Summit 2019 at Bangkok on Monday. The two leaders have met with each other thrice in the last about four months, and their previous meeting was in Vladivostok in September 2019.The Prime Minister congratulated Prime Minister Abe on the recent coronation of the Emperor of Japan. Prime Minister Abe recalled warmly the participation of the President of India in the ceremony.
Prime Minister Modi said that he eagerly looked forward to welcoming Prime Minister Abe in India next month for India-Japan Annual Summit. He also said that he was convinced of the success of the forthcoming Annual Summit in further deepening the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership.
The leaders welcomed the increasing economic engagement between the two countries, propelled by high-level exchanges. The leaders also reviewed the progress on Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project and reaffirmed their commitment to advance mutual efforts to facilitate the smooth implementation of the project.
The leaders welcomed that the inaugural 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Dialogue will take place later this month in India. They agreed that the Dialogue will help provide impetus to the bilateral security and defence cooperation between the two sides.
The two Prime Ministers also reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region based on a rules-based order. They agreed to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation, including in thirdcountries, for achieving the shared objective of peace, prosperity and progress of the Indo-Pacific region.
Meanwhile, Modi will participate in the East Asia and RCEP summits in Bangkok late on Monday. Besides he will also hold meetings with Japan Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, Vietnam PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Australian PM Scott Morrison in Bangkok, before he returns to Delhi tonight.
Prime Minister would be steering India’s negotiations at the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or the RCEP. RCEP is a comprehensive free trade agreement being negotiated between the 10 ASEAN Member States and ASEAN’s free trade agreement partners Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to dispel the notion that India is as reluctant to join the RCEP trade deal. In a detailed interview to Bangkok Post he said, India remains committed to a comprehensive and balanced outcome from the ongoing RCEP negotiations but India would like a win-win outcome.
He added that addressing India’s concerns over unsustainable trade deficits is important.Prime Minister expressed that a mutually beneficial RCEP, in which all sides gain reasonably, is in interests of India and of all partners in the negotiation.
RCEP negotiations which began in Cambodia in 2012 covers areas, including trade in goods and services, investment, market access, economic cooperation, intellectual property and e-commerce.