Debating India

Japan, India need each other: Koizumi

Friday 29 April 2005, by SURYANARAYANA*P.S.

``Economic interactions on the right track’’

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Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. - Photo: AP

SINGAPORE: Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has spelt out a broad policy of cooperative relationship with India on the basis of shared values such as democracy and "the convergence of strategic interests. Therefore, Japan and India need each other as a strong, prosperous and dynamic partner."

In an interview, in the form of written answers to questions from The Hindu , Mr. Koizumi indicated that his objective was to reinforce the Japan-India ties "with a new, strategic orientation in a new Asian era."

Noting that India was now "stridently emerging as a global power" and recognising its essentiality for peace and stability in Asia and beyond, he did not, however, characterise the emerging equation between Tokyo and New Delhi in such definitive terms as a strategic partnership or bonding.

In the answers, received by e-mail through diplomatic channels prior to his departure from Tokyo on Thursday on a visit to India (he has since arrived in New Delhi), Mr. Koizumi maintained that the two countries are "currently on the right track" in economic interactions.

He said efforts would begin shortly to study ways to enhance the economic relationship "commensurate with its potentiality". On the sensitive nuclear issue, which led to a frosty phase in ties in the immediate context of the Pokhran tests of 1998, Mr. Koizumi said Japan would now "like to think together with the Indians" on how the two sides could cooperate towards achieving "the ultimate goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons." Noteworthy, too, was his inclination to see India as a potential "partner" in the campaign against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

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