New Delhi: India welcomed the rise of 15 percent in Japanese companies coming to the country during 2014 and stressed that Japan is a key partner in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' Initiative, during talks between external affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida on Saturday.
Both leaders held extensive discussions spread over four hours, beginning for the first time with a restricted session which lasted for 45 minutes. The two ministers were then joined by a multi-ministry delegation, said official sources.
Sushma Swaraj, while welcoming the marked rise in Japanese companies coming to India, also highlighted the special arrangements for Japanese companies and banks initiated by India under the Japan plus initiative started following Modi's successful visit to Japan last year.
Kishida said the Japanese government considers India an important partner as reflected in his early visit to New Delhi after the new government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was sworn in following the recent elections in Japan.
He informed that India is now viewed as the most promising destination by Japanese companies and hoped that Abenomics and Modinomics would work together to achieve the goals of doubling Japanese investments and assistance to India as announced during Modi's visit to Tokyo, the sources added.
The two ministers reviewed the various infrastructural projects, including the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor and the High Speed rail between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, and considered possible projects with Japanese support in northeast India and linkages with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The two ministers discussed bilateral, political and security ties in detail and agreed to further strengthen relations in accordance with the Special Strategic and Global Partnership.
Both also agreed to have an early meeting in 2015 of the Two plus Two Dialogue mechanism between Foreign Secretaries and Defence Secretaries, which had last met in 2012.
They also positively evaluated the Trilateral Dialogue Mechanism between India, Japan and US. Both also reviewed the progress on the US-2 Amphibian Aircraft, called ShinMaywa. The Indian navy is looking to acquire 18 ShinMaywa aircraft
Both agreed to pursue through diplomatic channels discussions on civil nuclear cooperation. During Modi's visit in September, both sides had held talks on the issue but no deal was inked. Modi and Abe had instructed their officials to complete the negotiations so that the agreement could be signed at an early date.
Sushma Swaraj and Kishida also discussed global and regional issues including the G4 approach to UN Security Council Reform, the situation in the Indo-Pacific region, including the security situation in Afghanistan the Korean peninsula.
The issue of Japan's discontent over China's growing assertiveness in the East China Sea where both lay claim to small islets in the sea is also understood to have come up.
Kishida, delivering the 15th Sapru House Lecture at the Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA) in the morning, stressed on the need for Japan and India to strengthen their maritime cooperation and said both sides should "even more proactively assume" their "responsibilities to protect open and stable seas" under their partnership.
The Japanese foreign minister is in India on a three-day visit from Jan 16.