New Delhi [India], March 20 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida on Saturday reaffirmed the importance of collaborative projects between the two countries in the Indo-Pacific region and looked forward to the expansion of such projects to ASEAN, Pacific island countries and others.
Issuing a joint press statement, the two leaders also acknowledged the progress in the ongoing projects in Bangladesh.
"The Prime Ministers reaffirmed the significance of collaborative projects between India and Japan in the Indo-Pacific region. They acknowledged the progress in ongoing projects in Bangladesh and looked forward to exploring expansion of such cooperation to ASEAN, Pacific island countries and others," the press statement said.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also used the opportunity to welcome India's Indo-Pacific Oceans' Initiative (IPOI) launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019. The main objective of the IPOI is to ensure the safety, security, and stability of the maritime domain.
"The Prime Ministers acknowledged the growing space for cooperation between the IPOI and Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP). India appreciated Japan's participation as a lead partner on the connectivity pillar of IPOI," the statement said, adding "They reiterated their strong support for ASEAN's unity and centrality and their full support for the 'ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP)' which upholds the principles such as the rule of law, openness, freedom, transparency and inclusiveness".
The two leaders also emphasized that India and Japan, as two leading powers in the Indo-Pacific region had a shared interest in the continuance of a rules-based order in the region in general and in the maritime domain in particular while hinting at China's aggressiveness in the South China sea.
"They reaffirmed their determination to continue prioritizing the role of international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and facilitate collaboration, including in maritime security, to meet challenges against the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas," the statement said.
The leaders underscored their commitment to promoting peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, while underlining the significance of partnerships among "like-minded" countries in the region including the Quad.
"With their commitment to promoting peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, the Prime Ministers affirmed the importance of bilateral and plurilateral partnerships among like-minded countries of the region, including the quadrilateral cooperation among Australia, India, Japan, and the United States (the Quad)," the statement said.
Notably, the two leaders welcomed the Quad Leaders' Summits in March and September 2021 and renewed their commitment to delivering tangible outcomes on the Quad's positive and constructive agenda, especially on COVID vaccines, critical and emerging technologies, climate action, infrastructure coordination, cybersecurity, space and education. They looked forward to advancing Quad cooperation through the next Quad Leaders' Summit in Japan in the coming months.
PM Kishida also extended an invitation to PM Modi to visit Japan on the occasion of the Quad Leaders' Summit. (ANI)