NEW DELHI: Defence, investment and nuclear energy will dominate the biggest exchange between Indian and Japanese leaders when Japanese foreign minister Koichiro Gemba arrives here on Sunday. Gemba is leading a high-profile delegation including several cabinet ministers and senior officials.
The union cabinet is expected to approve a proposal to give the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) 26 per cent equity stake in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation ( DMICDC) which will beJapan’s biggest investment in Indian infrastructure. This will be the added sweetener to the fact that India-Japan trade leapt by 30 per cent between August 2011 and March 2012.
The Japan relationship gets a huge boost from prime minister Manmohan Singh. Famously averse to travel, Singh has diligently travelled to Japan every year since he became prime minister, and never let the frequent changes of Japanese PM affect his travel plans. In almost all his speeches inJapan, Singh has described the Japan relationship as being “transformative”, a term he reserves for very select relationships.
Japanese and Indian ships will hold their annual naval exercises in June-July this year. From 2013, Japanese forces will be part of the Malabar naval exercises along with US and Indian navies off Okinawa. Japan was a part of the Malabar exercises in 2007, when China objected to the five-nation exercise, spooked that it appeared to be a China containment exercise.Japan’s re-entry into the exercises indicates its growing comfort with the Indian defence forces, as well as increased strategic convergence. Indian and Japanese navies are also looking at working together in the Indian Ocean, where both navies are engaged in “pass-ex” exercises.Japan has its first overseas base in Djibouti, where Indian ships have been invited to call, in return there is talk of Japanese vessels calling at the Indian base in Nicobar.
Gemba will lead the Japanese delegation in the strategic dialogue with India, which will be held on Monday. Along with this, Japan and India will hold their fifth energy dialogue, where India is looking for clean coal technologies and other efficiency technologies. While Japan is willing to give India such technologies, over the years, sources said neither the government, nor private sector has been able to take adequate advantage of this. Indian officials rarely go beyond the talk, sources said, frustrated. In the ministerial economic dialogue, the two countries will be looking to deepen commercial ties in the wake of the CEPA agreement.
Gemba will be coming in from Kathmandu, where he will be the highest level Japanese visitor since former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori visited in 2000.