Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida will visit India on March 20; G-7, G-20, and Indo-Pacific ties are on the agenda
According to a senior Japanese official, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s 24-hour visit to Delhi on March 19 will include coordinating plans for the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May this year and the G20 summit in Delhi in September.
More than 15 years after PM Shinzo Abe first discussed Indo-Pacific cooperation during a visit to Delhi, Mr. Kishida will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and make a significant speech on Japan’s Indo-Pacific strategy and its new defense posture. In addition, Mr. Kishida and Mr. Modi will stroll together in a Delhi park to see a revered tree that dates back to Gautam Buddha.
Mr. Kishida has been on a brief tour of meetings with international leaders since January, when he visited the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. This weekend, he hosted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Tokyo to discuss the G7 agenda with member countries.
He will travel to Delhi to work with Mr. Modi on greater coordination between the G7 and G20 presidencies and is likely to make another attempt to bring India on board with tougher language on Russia during the G7 meeting in Hiroshima, something India did not sign on to during last year’s G7 summit in Germany.
Even though India is not a member of the G7 group of the world’s most developed economies, the Indian Prime Minister has been invited as a special guest to summits on several occasions since 2008.
“Prime Minister Kishida looks forward to sincere discussions with Prime Minister Modi on the roles that the G7 and G20 should play in overcoming such global challenges as regional and international security, food security, climate and energy, fair and transparent development finance,” Noriyuki Shikata, Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs at the Japanese Prime Minister’s Office, said.
Mr. Kishida’s tour is unexpected in that it does not coincide with the annual bilateral summits held by Indian and Japanese leaders since 2006. According to government sources, the visit would focus on “converging priorities on critical global issues, such as food and health security, energy transitions, and economic security,” implying that talks on the impact of the Ukraine conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic would be on the agenda.
Mr. Kishida will arrive on Monday morning and will meet with Mr. Modi after laying a wreath at Mahatma Gandhi’s Rajghat memorial. Following their discussions, the two leaders are expected to announce a detailed commitment to coordinate the G7 and G20 summits this year.
The leaders will also talk about bilateral issues like Japan’s planned 5-trillion Yen public and private investment in India, North East connectivity initiatives, and the long-awaited Shikansen high-speed rail project.
According to sources, the two countries will also discuss India-Japan cooperation under their “Special Strategic and Global Partnership” for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).
Mr. Kishida will also accompany Mr. Modi to Buddha Jayanti Park in the capital to see the Bal Bodhi Tree, which is thought to be related to the “Mahabodhi tree” under which Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment.
Finally, the Japanese Prime Minister’s visit is seen as critical for both sides, as it will determine the future of Indo-Japan relations.
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