Japanese PM to visit India to build Indo-Pacific partnership

NEW DELHI (AP) — Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will meet with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to strengthen their partnership in the Indo-Pacific and beyond in view of China’s growing footprint in the region, an Indian official said Thursday.

The meeting on Saturday will provide an opportunity to exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest, said Arindam Bagchi, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesman. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the relationship with China are expected to figure prominently in their discussions.

Kishida will be in India over the weekend, he said.

Japan has announced comprehensive financial sanctions to isolate Russia, including export controls on semiconductors and other high-tech products. But India has refrained from taking sides in the conflict and abstained from voting against Russia at the U.N. or criticizing President Vladimir Putin.

India says ties with Japan are key to stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The two nations, along with the United States and Australia, are members of the Indo-Pacific alliance known as “the Quad” that is grappling with a rising China’s coercive economic practices and military maneuvering.

In September, the Quad leaders announced Japan would work with India on a $100 million investment in COVID-19 vaccines and treatment drugs.

The bilateral trade between India and Japan for 2019-20 crossed $11.87 billion. India’s exports from Japan amounted to $3.94 billion while India’s imports from Japan stood at $7.93 billion.

India’s main exports have been petroleum products, chemicals, fish, clothing, iron and steel products, textile yarn, fabrics and machinery. India’s imports from Japan include electrical machinery, iron and steel products, plastic materials, parts of motor vehicles, organic chemicals and metals, according to India’s External Affairs Ministry.

The Japanese investments in India touched $32 billion between 2000 and 2019, mainly in the automobile, electrical equipment, telecommunications, chemical, insurance and pharmaceutical sectors.

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