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Japanese foreign minister may skip SAARC Summit

Japanese envoy to India Yasukuni Enoki said that their Prime Minister had visited India three times without a reciprocal visit.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2007 18:55 IST

After Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, Japanese foreign minister, who was expected to represent his country at the 14th SAARC Summit in New Delhi on April 3-4 as an Observer, may also skip the meet.

Japanese Ambassador to India Yasukuni Enoki said at a press conference here that the Japanese Prime Minister had visited India three times without a reciprocal visit.

"The (Indian) Foreign Minister (Pranab Mukherjee) should be kind enough to visit Japan before SAARC Summit," Enoki said.

Japan, along with US and UK, is expected to attend the SAARC Summit as an Observer.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said in Islamabad on his arrival there on a two-day visit on January 13 that SAARC was now an "extended family" in the sense that Afghanistan would be joining the summit as the 8th member and, "in addition, there will be Observers from Japan, USA and UK."

Enoki said Japan had a "very legitimate expectation" that the External Affairs Minister would visit Japan to hold the strategic dialogue.

Pointing out that Japan had established the 'Strategic Dialogue' mechanism only with the US and Australia besides India, Enoki said both countries shared the values of democracy and human rights.

He said as part of the increased bilateral engagement between the two countries, Japanese Defence Minister and the Vice Foreign Minister on economic matters were expected to visit India in 2007.

Referring to Japan's increasing engagement with India, Enoki said Japan's car manufacturers (Maruti) Suzuki and Nissan were considering making India the hub for export manufacturing and exporting India-made passenger cars.

Japanese businessmen were considering making India an "export base."

Enoki said Japan was also considering making Nimrana in Rajasthan as an 'investment zone' and discussions were on with the state government.

Attempts were being made to devise investment strategies beyond state zones and investments were being planned somewhere between Mumbai and Delhi.