Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to unveil his plan for a “free and open Indo-Pacific” with a focus on India’s increasingly significant role in the region during his visit to New Delhi on Monday.
The evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military assertiveness is also likely to figure in wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kishida.
The Japanese prime minister is scheduled to arrive on Monday morning on an around 27-hour-long visit to New Delhi with an aim to further expand bilateral ties in a range of areas including defence and security, trade and investment and high technology.
Prime Minister Modi and PM Kishida are also set to discuss priorities for India’s presidency of G20 and Japan’s presidency of the G7.
The Japanese prime minister is expected to unveil his ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Plan for Peace’ during a lecture being organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs at the Sushma Swaraj Bhavan, people familiar with the matter said on Saturday.
The plan is expected to highlight India’s significance for the Indo-Pacific.
Delivering the prestigious Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in June last year, PM Kishida said he would lay out the plan for Indo-Pacific next spring.
“I will lay out a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Plan for Peace’ by next spring, which will strengthen Japan’s efforts to further promote the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, with an emphasis on providing patrol vessels and enhancing maritime law enforcement capabilities, as well as cyber security, digital and green initiatives, and economic security,” he had said.
The plan is expected to provide details of Japan’s policy and approach towards the Indo-Pacific.
In the last few years, almost all leading powers have come out with their strategies for the Indo-Pacific.
Japan has been pushing for a free and open Indo-Pacific with a view to maintaining and strengthening the rules-based international order in the region.
It has also been concerned over China’s aggressive military posturing in the East China Sea, South China Sea, and the Taiwan Strait.
Japan is also a member of the four-nation coalition Quad which has also been focusing on promoting peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
Australia, India, and the US are other members of the Quad.
On the sidelines of the Quad leaders’ summit in Tokyo in May last year, US President Joe Biden launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) which is an initiative aimed at deeper cooperation among like-minded countries in areas like clean energy, supply-chain resilience and digital trade.
At their summit, the Quad leaders also launched the Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness Initiative (IPMDA).
The IPMDA is primarily aimed at monitoring regional waters against the backdrop of China’s increasing muscle-flexing in the region.