Japan and India on Saturday agreed to conduct a trilateral naval drill with the United States as part of plans to strengthen relations between the two Asian countries. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in New Delhi to discuss economic and security issues, which some see as a bid to gain support for Japan against China’s growing influence in the region.
The two leaders agreed that freedom of navigation, free commerce and settling conflicts in light of international law are crucial to maintaining peace in Asia. This is in reference to the increase in maritime activities of China which Japan sees as threatening, especially since they are involved in a territorial dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Aside from the trilateral naval drill, the two also agreed to a working-level meeting sometime in March to discuss the exportation of Japan’s US-2 amphibious planes that will be used for search and rescue operations in India. The head secretariat of the newly formed National Security Council, Shotaro Yachi, will also be meeting with his Indian counterpart to discuss measures to increase their level of bilateral security cooperation.
In terms of the economy, Abe announced a total of $2 billion in loans to finance the expansion of the subway system in New Delhi. They also agreed to expand the bilateral currency swap scheme from $15 billion to $50 billion. The two countries are also expected to conduct a joint survey by July on the possibility of bringing Japan’s shinkansen bullet train technology for a high-speed train between Mumbai and Ahmadabad in western India. The South Asian country will also be promoting deregulation and other business measures to encourage Japanese companies to invest in their country. As of 2013, there are 1,072 Japanese firms that have invested in India, 550 more than the figures from 2008.
[ via The Mainichi ]