Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold summit talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo today and discuss cooperation in defence, civil nuclear and infrastructure development as both countries face an increasingly assertive China.
Addressing business leaders this morning, PM Modi made what was seen as a swipe at China’s aggressive posture in the East and South China seas.
“The 21st century is Asia’s century, the world has accepted it. The question is – how will it be? There are two ways – one of ‘Vistarvaad’ (expansionism) and the other of ‘Vikasvaad’ (development). We see around us the forces of expansionism. Development is the way ahead,” he said.
The comments were seen to reflect Mr Modi’s bid to prioritise India’s strategic vision in reference to cooperation with Japan.
The two countries are likely to agree on a “two-plus-two” security consultative framework involving their foreign and defence ministers. Japan has a similar framework with the US, Australia, Russia and France.
Reports said Indian and Japanese negotiators worked till late on Sunday to work out details of a civil nuclear deal.
“I see in the recent changes in Japan’s defence export policies and regulations a possibility to engage in a new era of cooperation in high-end defence technology and equipment,” Mr Modi had told the Japanese media before the visit.
India and Japan are also expected to sign a deal on joint production of rare earth materials.
PM Modi began the day with a trip to a 136-year-old school where he attended a class and interacted with students and teachers.
Mr Modi flew to Tokyo last night after a two-day stay in the historic city of Kyoto, where he visited two ancient Buddhist temples. The Japanese PM, who made a rare 500-km trip from Tokyo to welcome Mr Modi on Saturday, accompanied him in these visits.
Today’s talks will involve the Japanese Finance, Trade, Defence and Infrastructure ministers.
The two countries are expected to discuss Japan’s help in improving India’s infrastructure, particularly the railways, and cleaning of river Ganga.