EAM Jaishankar in Japan: India’s transformation makes it credible, effective partner

Tokyo: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in Japan said on Thursday that it is important for Japan to recognize that India is a very different country today and appreciate the pace of change in the South Asian nation.

Speaking at the first Raisina Roundtable in Tokyo, a key step towards enhancing track 2 exchanges between the two countries, the minister said that the transformation of India makes it a more effective and credible partner.

“I think it’s important that Japan today appreciates the pace of change in India. This is a country today which is building 28 kilometers of highway every day, which is creating eight new airports every year, which is establishing one-and-a-half to two metros every year…”

He further said that in the last 10 years, India has built two new colleges every day and has doubled its technical and medical institutions and that “this transformation of India makes us a more effective and credible partner”.

“Whether it is the ease of doing business, infrastructure development, ease of living, digital delivery, startup, and innovation culture… India is clearly a very different country today. This is important for the Japanese to recognise,” the minister said, adding that India is increasingly turning to like-minded partners who gather together for a particular purpose.

Agreeing that the most universal expression of the global order is still the United Nations, Dr Jaishankar said that its reform is of paramount importance, and India and Japan seek to make the UN structures more contemporary.

“This is clearly an uphill task but one in which we must persevere as two powers that are so central to multipolarity in Asia. It is also in our common interest that the overall balance remains in favour of freedom, openness, transparency, and a rules-based order,” the minister said.

Stating that the world is now more volatile, uncertain, unpredictable, and open-ended, Jaishankar said that it is a “prospect that India and Japan have to confront, both from the National perspectives as well as from the point of view of their own relationship”.

The minister also called for Japanese cooperation concerning the development assistance in the Global South.

He added that as a leading voice of the Global South, and being “particularly conscious of this responsibility”, India’s development efforts today span 78 nations across different continents.

The first Raisina Roundtable@Tokyo, which came just after the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi last month, focused on how India and Japan, who enjoy a special strategic and global Partnership, intend to meet the challenges facing the global order.

Jaishankar is on a three-day visit to Japan from March 6-8 for the 16th India-Japan Foreign Ministers Strategic Dialogue with Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa.

The two ministers are expected to discuss issues of bilateral, regional and global importance, and exchange views on cooperation for a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership has further deepened in the last decade in areas such as defence and digital technologies, semiconductor supply chains, clean energy, high speed rail, industrial competitiveness and connectivity.

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