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Message by Ambassador of India H.E. Sujan R. Chinoy for Japan Times (11 November 2016)

1. I deem it an honour to contribute to the special supplement published by the Japan Times on the occasion of the ongoing two-day visit of H.E Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India to Japan for the 11th annual bilateral Summit Meeting with H.E. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan. Prime Minister Modi’s visit provides fresh impetus to bilateral ties between India and Japan, building further on the momentum created by his visit to Japan in 2014 and the subsequent visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India in December 2015. This is the eighth meeting between the two since Prime Minister Modi assumed office in 2014. It is a valuable opportunity for the two leaders to meet, as friends and as leaders of two of Asia’s largest economies, to advance bilateral engagement under the Special Strategic and Global Partnership.

2. Relations between India and Japan are millennial in nature. They are cemented by close bonds forged on the anvil of Buddhism, which spread from India to other countries in Asia, including to Japan. As two large democracies, we value openness, transparency and respect for the rule of law.

3. Our relationship is marked by a convergence on economic and strategic issues. As two prominent maritime states straddling the vast and dynamic Indo-Pacific region, both India and Japan are committed to the cause of peace, stability and prosperity. Both support freedom of navigation and overflight as well as unimpeded maritime commerce through the interlinked sea lanes of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

4. We welcomed Japan’s participation this year as a regular member, for the first time, at the successful Malabar naval exercises held off the coast of Japan. Dialogue between the three defense services provides a platform for closer cooperation, particularly in the field of maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Promoting regional connectivity is a common objective, as is the creation of an inclusive, balanced and open regional architecture. India and Japan have condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations with “zero tolerance” and have reaffirmed their deep concern at the continued threat posed by terrorists and terror groups. Together, we have called upon all countries to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1267 and other relevant resolutions designating terrorist entities, and to work to eliminate terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, their networks and financing channels, including the cross-border movement of terrorists.

5. With a projected GDP growth rate of 7.6% in 2016, India has emerged as the world’s fastest-growing large economy and as a global manufacturing hub. India’s large domestic market, macro-economic stability and competitive low-cost manufacturing have made it an attractive investment destination.

6. India is strongly committed to further opening up the economy and to improving the “ease of doing business” ecosystem. A number of steps taken by the Government of India to spur economic growth and flow of FDI such as the passage of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, the setting up of Commercial Courts and new legislation regarding the Goods and Services Tax are expected to ignite medium-term growth. Today, Japan is the 4th largest investor in India. The Indian economy offers unparalleled opportunities to Japanese companies to participate in flagship programmes including Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Smart Cities and Industrial Townships and Corridors. India is now Japan’s largest ODA partner. Japan’s unmatched technological and innovative capacities have made it a natural partner for India in the execution of mega infrastructural projects of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, the Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor, the Metro Rail projects in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Chennai, and notably, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway Project.

7. The role of private capital from Japan is integral to our burgeoning economic engagement. Japanese companies stand to benefit from low-cost manufacturing and the ample pool of competent human resources in India. The JBIC Surveys in the last two years have consistently ranked India as the most preferred medium-term destination for Japanese manufacturing companies.

8. The people of India greatly admire Japan’s culture of hard work, discipline and dedication just as the Japanese people admire India’s diversity and spirituality. People-to-people exchanges are on the rise. India has recently extended a ‘Visa-on-arrival’ facility, ten-year business visas and e-Tourist visas to Japanese travelers. Japan’s role in skills development, education and training programmes in India will benefit a large and youthful workforce, and provide a steady stream of human resources to meet the needs of the growing Japanese presence in India.

9. India and Japan have a shared outlook on many global issues. Our cooperation in the field of clean energy, including nuclear energy, has enormous implications for our quest for sustainable growth to meet the developmental aspirations of the 1.25 billion Indian people. We look to strengthening co-operation on climate change and reform of the United Nations.

10. Together, we can play a significant role in charting the future of the Indo-Pacific region. Together, we can promote peace and prosperity across Asia and Africa.

11. India and Japan stand on the cusp of a new phase in their partnership. I am confident that ties between India and Japan will prove to be a defining relationship of the 21st century

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