India-Japan foreign ministers to hold strategic talks on Saturday

 Joint production of amphibious aircraft US-2, removing hurdles to finalise a civil nuclear deal, enhancing maritime security cooperation and implementing several mega infrastructure projects will top the agenda during strategic talks between foreign ministers of India and Japan here on Saturday.

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 16, 2015, 23:33 PM IST

New Delhi: Joint production of amphibious aircraft US-2, removing hurdles to finalise a civil nuclear deal, enhancing maritime security cooperation and implementing several mega infrastructure projects will top the agenda during strategic talks between foreign ministers of India and Japan here on Saturday.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who arrived here today for the talks, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed issues of mutual interest.

In their strategic dialogue, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Kishida will deliberate on a range of key issues including firming up of a deal on defence equipment cooperation and production of amphibious long-range aircraft US-2 besides addressing issues relating to long-pending civil nuclear agreement.

Deputy Press Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan Ken Okaniwa said both the leaders will also discuss about the Tokyo Declaration issued during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Tokyo in September last year. Okaniwa indicated Japan's willingness for production of US-2 aircraft in India.

"It was at summit meeting in September that the two leaders instructed the two government at the working level to start consultation regarding the broader defence equipment cooperation. We have already started informal discussions on how and what kind of sort of framework we want," Okaniwa said.

Asked whether India's refusal to sign the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty was coming in the way of finalising the civil nuclear pact, he indicated it to be an issue but added "we would not have started the discussion if that a big issue" for us.

Okaniwa said ways to "strengthen political dialogue" including at the India, Japan and the US Trilateral will also figure in the talks between the two leaders besides various regional and global issues including reform of the Security Council.

It will be Kishida's first overseas trip after being appointed Foreign Minister recently.

Okaniwa said the two leaders will also talk about "investment promotion partnership" and implementation of the major projects including Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed train network, strengthening the existing railway tracks in certain areas and the freight corridor project.

He said improving road network in the northeast to link and linking the region with neighbouring South East Asian countries will also figure in the talks.

Talking about trade ties, Okaniwa said Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had laid out a roadmap vision for stepping up engagement between the two countries and both the governments are now working according to their vision.

He said "Modi-nomics and Abe-nomics" will succeed and the bilateral economic ties will see significant enhancement in the coming years. During Modi's visit, Japan promised to give USD 35 billion to India over the next five years for developmental projects.

Okaniwa said Abe has accepted Modi's invitation to visit India but dates for the trip are yet to be decided.

Asked whether South China Sea issue will figure in the talks, he only said both the leaders will discuss "many issues" including maritime security cooperation.