All you need to know about PM Narendra Modi?s meet with Japan?s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

By Elton Gomes  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Monday held “fruitful and extensive” talks in Tokyo.

The two leaders reportedly discussed issues of bilateral interest, the Indo-Pacific region, and threats posed by nuclear terrorism. Modi and Abe signed several agreements, including naval cooperation and a high speed rail project, as both countries sought to strengthen economic and military ties in an effort to balance China’s dominance in the region.

“The two leaders’ vision for the Indo-Pacific is based on a rules-based order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, ensures freedom of navigation and overflight as well as unimpeded lawful commerce, and seeks peaceful resolution of disputes…without resorting to threat or use of force,” the India-Japan Vision Statement read, PTI reported.

From the signing of important agreements to Japan backing India’s bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), here’s a list of what happened at the Modi-Abe meet.

India, Japan sign $75 billion currency swap agreement

India and Japan signed a currency swap agreement amounting to $75 billion during PM Modi’s visit, the government said on Monday.

“The Prime Ministers of India and Japan, building on great friendship between the two countries and to further strengthen and widen the depth and diversity of economic cooperation, agreed during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Japan, to conclude a Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement for an amount of $75 billion,” the Indian government said in a statement, as per a report in the Hindu.

A currency swap generally includes the exchange of interest and sometimes of principal in one currency for the same in another currency.

The Indian government said that the currency swap agreement was an important step towards improving confidence in the Indian market. Such an agreement would not only enable the agreed amount of capital to be available to India, but it will also reduce the cost of capital for Indian entities while accessing the foreign capital market.

Japan backs India’s bid to join NSG

In another important step, Japan backed India’s membership bid to join the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). India’s entry to the NSG has been opposed by China since New Delhi has not signed the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty.

“After India’s full accession to three international export control regimes, the two leaders pledged to continue working together for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, with the aim of strengthening the global non-proliferation efforts,” the India-Japan Vision Statement said, as per a PTI report.

Modi, Abe pledge for a free Indo-Pacific

Japan’s proposal to come up with a “free and open Indo-Pacific” was the focus of attention in the vision statement released after the talks concluded. The concept is seen as a response to China’s increasing dominance in the region.

Modi told the press that the India-Japan bilateral relationship was invested in upholding the rule of law and democratic values.

The vision statement explicitly mentioned the willingness of both countries to “expand concrete cooperation with the U.S. and other partners”. It also referred to the necessity of ensuring the freedom of navigation and the importance of upholding the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).

2+2 dialogue on cards

The talks announced the introduction of the 2+2 dialogue, a new dialogue between Foreign and Defence departments. India currently has such an arrangement only with the US.

India and Japan also welcomed the start of negotiations on Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), a military logistics pact that seeks to enhance the strategic depth and defence cooperation.

ACSA will allow Japan to refuel and resupply its ships at Indian naval bases situated on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands near the Malacca Straits.

Modi, Abe explore new areas of cooperation

Modi and Abe reportedly reviewed developments in bilateral ties and explored new areas of cooperation. The focus of the meet was on a shared vision for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region – a place where China seems to be flexing its muscles.

The two leaders agreed that India and Japan should work together for a rules-based and inclusive world order. A world order that cultivates trust and confidence by enhancing connectivity to ensure rule of law, unrestricted trade and flow of people, technology and ideas for shared prosperity.

Abe said that India-Japan ties have the largest potential in the world. He also called on Pakistan to punish the perpetrators of terror attacks, including the ones in Mumbai and Pathankot.

“They called upon Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorist attacks, including those of November 2008 in Mumbai and January 2016 in Pathankot. They looked forward to strengthening cooperation against terrorist threats from groups including Al-Qaida, ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lakshar-e-Tayyiba, and their affiliates,” the India-Japan Vision Statement read, PTI reported.

Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius