Will invigorate political, security, energy ties with Japan: PM

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday, in statement before his departure on a three-day visit to Japan, said that he proposed to invigorate India’s relations with Japan in the political, security and energy spheres.

“We will explore ways to harness the full potential of our Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Partnership by intensifying and balancing our two-way trade and investment linkages,” the prime minister said.

“There is a growing congruence in our interests and I see this relationship as an essential component of our vision for enduring stability and prosperity in Asia,” he added.

Calling Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe his “good friend”, Manmohan Singh said that he “will build on the momentum imparted by successive summits to the India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership”.

The annual bilateral summit was to be held November last year but was postponed as Japan went in for elections.

“The visit will also allow the two governments to take stock of the progress in flagship projects in our partnership, like the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, and to facilitate bilateral engagement for meaningful and mutually beneficial association,” the statement said.

“I also hope to exchange views with Prime Minister Abe on important regional and global developments of shared interest,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister and his wife are scheduled to meet the Emperor and Empress of Japan during the visit.

“As on every previous visit to Japan, I look forward to a gracious audience with Their Majesties the Emperor and the Empress of Japan,” he said.

The prime minister will meet Japanese political leaders and address captains of Japanese business and industry.

Manmohan Singh will arrive in Thailand Thursday, where he will be meeting Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

“Thailand is an important bilateral partner as well as a regional leader situated at the heart of ASEAN. During my talks with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, I will carry forward the new dynamics in our relations since her milestone visit to India as the Chief Guest at our Republic Day in 2012,” he said.

“Thailand and India share centuries-old people-to-people, cultural and spiritual ties. Being maritime neighbours, we also share common interests in maritime security. Our defence and security cooperation with Thailand is progressing well and it will be my effort to further enhance it during my visit,” the prime minister said.

“As one of our top trade and investment partners in ASEAN, Thailand is an essential part of India’s integration with the region,” he added.

He said that during the visit to Thailand, India would re-emphasize its commitment to building a stronger partnership with ASEAN.

“Thailand’s importance to India is also underpinned by its potential as a hub of connectivity between India and Southeast Asia. The Trilateral Highway project will connect our Northeast with Thailand through Myanmar and create avenues for commercial and cultural interaction,” he said.

“My visits to Japan and Thailand will add depth and new meaning to our ‘Look East’ policy and contribute to peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific,” the prime minister said.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at [email protected])

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