A week after hosting the Chinese premier, the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh arrived in Japan on Monday on a three-day visit to strengthen bilateral relations between the two nations. Indian officials have denied reports that India is luke-warm about becoming closer to Japan so as not to annoy China.
Singh is scheduled to meet his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Wednesday to discuss boosting cooperation in political, security, and energy spheres.
“India and Japan have a strategic and global partnership,” Singh said in a press statement upon arrival in Japan.” There are enormous potentialities for further enriching our relationship, deepening it and brightening it in the economic relations, political relations, and security relations.”
“In all areas, there is enormous potential for widening and strengthening our relationship with Japan.”
Indian official sources told the Press Trust of India (PTI) that “India is quite happy to proceed at the pace determined by the Japanese side.”
In a response to maritime threat from China, Singh told Japanese media in New Delhi: “Both India and Japan are important maritime nations. Therefore, safety and security of the sea lanes of communication, especially in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, is vital for both countries.”
“We believe that where disputes exist, they should be peacefully resolved by concerned parties through negotiations. This is essential for peace and stability in our region,” he said.
Singh sees a relationship with Japan as an essential component of India’s vision for enduring stability and prosperity in Asia.
The visit, originally scheduled for November last year, was postponed following the announcement of general elections in Japan in December.
In a press statement prior to his departure to Japan and Thailand, Singh said that in his summit with the new government of Japan led by his “good friend” Abe, he will build on the momentum imparted by successive summits to the India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership.
Singh will later travel to Thailand on a two-day visit from May 30.