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SOURCE: ANI

Delving into India’s approach to the uncertain world shaped by its broadening horizons, widening interests and reformist agenda, External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar underlined the importance of cooperation and coordination amongst countries, particularly in Asia. Speaking at the Nikkei Asia 2024 Future of Asia Forum on ‘India’s Role in an Uncertain World,’ Jaishankar said, “India and Japan are close partners in our efforts towards a reformed multilateralism, including United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reforms.

Our cooperation in Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad, grouping of four democracies — India, Australia, the US, and Japan) is a force for good, increasingly recognized by the world as such.” The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is composed of 15 member states, including five permanent members with veto power and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms.

The five permanent members of the UNSC include China, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and the United States. India is among the countries, that are demanding the reformation of the multilateralism framework including the UNSC and seeking a permanent seat at the Security Council. “Let me reiterate that the contours of multipolarity are more visible today, than ever before. India believes in moving forward through engagement and dialogue, multipolarity and reformed multilateralism.

We will work with Japan and our Asian partners to realize a secure, sustainable and prosperous future of Asia,” added the EAM. He said that India’s approach to the uncertain world has been shaped by broadening horizons, widening interests and a reformist agenda. “We believe that a free, open, safe, secure, peaceful, prosperous and stable Indo-Pacific is a necessary pre-condition for peace, security and prosperity of the world. In that endeavour, the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership is a key factor,” said Jaishankar.

He highlighted the alignment between India’s Act-East Policy, Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative, and Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision, as well as, shared support for ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. Jaishankar also underlined the strong relationship between India and Japan and pointed out the need to de-risk the international economy by promoting more production centres, ensuring resilient supply chains, and enhancing trust and transparency in the digital domain. “This will ensure resilient and reliable supply chains while enhancing trust and transparency in the digital domain.

We also have a common interest in creating connectivity flows that are truly market-based and multilateral. Our economies complement each other in many respects and we must explore those opportunities more seriously. They span a wide spectrum from health and agriculture to technology and manufacturing.

As the major economies of Asia, we also have a particular obligation to enhance its stability and security. This is best done by building defence cooperation and interoperability and committing ourselves to support peaceful resolution of disputes and respect for international law, including the UNCLOS,” said the EAM. “We also have a common interest in creating connectivity flows that are truly market-based and multilateral. Our economies complement each other in many respects and we must explore those opportunities more seriously. They span a wide spectrum from health and agriculture to technology and manufacturing.

As the major economies of Asia, we also have a particular obligation to enhance its stability and security. This is best done by building defence cooperation and interoperability and committing ourselves to supporting peaceful resolution of disputes and respect for international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” he added. UNCLOS, countries can claim an area 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) from the coast as their territorial seas, where they have full sovereignty.

They can also claim waters up to 200 nautical miles from the coast as an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), where they have a sovereign right to the water column and sea floor as well as resources, but other countries still have the right to sail through or fly over the waters. Speaking about the strong bond between India and Japan, Jaishankar said, “The expanse of our bilateral partnership is today reflected in arrangements in areas such as Industrial Competitiveness, Clean Energy Partnership, Digital Partnership and Semiconductor Supply Chains.

They also cover infrastructure development, energy, space, food processing, science and technology, healthcare, wellness, and R&D cooperation. The challenge before us is to take full advantage of each of these opportunities. This will require deeper commitment, more efforts and real perseverance.” Japan has long been an important development partner for India. Its cooperation in recent years has also extended to North-East India.

The landmark Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed railway project is making steady progress, perceived very much as a symbol of a new era. “We have a shared objective to realize a 5 trillion yen Japanese investment in India by 2027. Each of these facets is crucial to the further evolution of our relationship,” said Jaishankar. While recognizing positive developments, Jaishankar acknowledged that trade and commercial relations remain well below potential. India’s bilateral trade in goods annually is USD 135 billion with the European Union, 118 billion each with US and China, 84 billion with the UAE and 66 billion with Russia.

That with Japan remains close to USD 23 billion. Similarly, the progress regarding the deepening of investments has fallen short of expectations. “More work is also required in supportive domains, such as expanding Japanese language skills in India, increasing mobility of Indian skills and talents, growing the number of tourists or ensuring serious educational exchanges. These are, but some illustrations of what is needed to move to the next level,” said Jaishankar. He said that India is consciously seeking to bring to bear its human resources more effectively in the global workplace adding that the compulsions of a knowledge economy can also help drive that process.

“The Modi Government is committed to making India a global hub for innovation, research, design and engineering. Manufacturing will remain a strong focus in its economic priorities, contributing to a strategy of embedding India more deeply in global supply chains. Japanese businesses, as a result, will have an opportunity to co-innovate, co-create and co-produce in India for both domestic and global markets. There are particular opportunities in respect of critical and emerging technologies,” said the EAM. 2023 was an important year for India and Japan as chairs of two key international groupings – the G20 and G7. 2024 is also a landmark year, as we mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership. Our people-to-people relations are expected to get a boost through the celebration of 2024 as “India-Japan Year of Tourism Exchange”.