"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Contributed Article by Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio to The Indian Express

[Date] March 20, 2023
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Full text]

Today, as I embark on my second visit to India as Prime Minister of Japan, it gives me immense pleasure to return to the land where the dynamics of the world - the Pacific and the Indian Oceans - converge. One year ago, the foundation of order in the international community was shaken by Russia's aggression against Ukraine. Against such backdrop, on March 19, 2022, during my visit to India, Prime Minister Modi and I affirmed that any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force is unacceptable not only in the Indo-Pacific but also in any region, and a peaceful resolution based on international law needs to be sought. We affirmed that the current situation makes it more relevant to expedite efforts towards the realization of a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)." I am convinced that the unwavering trust and the close coordination between India and Japan as leading democracies of Asia are the cornerstones of peace and prosperity in the region.

Today, the international community is at a historic turning point. Its impact, such as the food crisis and soaring fertiliser prices, are also being felt here in the Indo-Pacific region. In order to respond effectively to the various challenges that the international community is currently facing, cooperation between the G7 and the G20 has greater significance. Such pressing challenges include food security, climate and energy, fair and transparent development finance. As Japan and India assume the Presidencies of the G7 and the G20 respectively this year, I look forward to engaging in candid discussions with Prime Minister Modi on the roles that the G7 and the G20 should play in overcoming such challenges.

I would also like to take this opportunity to deepen the multi-layered bilateral relationship between our two countries, which is based on shared values and principles of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Supported by the long-standing exchanges between the people of our two countries, Japan-India relations have advanced in various fields. It is particularly pleasing to see steady progress in the high-speed railway project, which is our flagship project, and efforts towards realizing the target of JPY 5 trillion of public and private investment and financing from Japan to India in the next five years as announced by our two governments last year. In addition, smart city projects by India, which have an edge in the digital sphere, share high compatibility with Japan's Vision for a Digital Garden City Nation Realization, and I would like to forge further bilateral cooperation in such fields. In terms of cooperation in development of the north-eastern region of India, we can realize its full potential by increasing connectivity with the surrounding regions. In addition, we will further promote cooperation in the security field and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, now that the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be receding at last.

During my visit, I will be also delivering remarks on FOIP at a lecture organized by the ICWA. FOIP is a vision shared by Japan and India that has gained support and endorsement of the international community and led to the mainstreaming of the 'Indo-Pacific'. At this turning point in history, FOIP is even more relevant at a time when Japan and India strive to pursue the shared goal of leading the international community towards cooperation rather than division and confrontation. Indeed, it was India where the vision of FOIP was born. I look forward to discussing the future of the 'Indo-Pacific' with the people of India on this occasion of my visit.

In 2014, Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Modi together announced the elevation of Japan-India relationship to a 'Special Strategic Global Partnership.' The two leaders pledged to unleash the potential of the bilateral relationship to the fullest extent possible so as to promote peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the world. As Japan and India assume the Presidencies of the G7 and the G20 respectively, together with Prime Minister Modi, I am resolved to renew the pledge and do utmost to lead this region and the world.

I look forward to meeting the people of India again following my visit last year.