China in mind, India calls Japan a ‘natural partner’ | world | Hindustan Times
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China in mind, India calls Japan a ‘natural partner’

world Updated: May 29, 2013 01:53 IST
Jayanth Jacob

In a speech laced with symbolism and strategic intent in equal measures, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a pitch for greater defence, security, political and economic ties with Japan on Tuesday.

Singh hailed Japan as a "natural and indispensable partner in our quest for stability and peace in the vast region in Asia that is washed by the Pacific and Indian Ocean".

Singh's vision for the region, where the obvious concern is an assertive China, came at an address to Japan-India Association, Japan-India Parliamentary Friendship League and International Friendship Exchange Council in Tokyo. He used similar expressions while addressing business leaders earlier in the day.

Singh recalled Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe's speech to Indian Parliament in August 2007 where he talked of "confluence of the seas".

Abe, an ardent advocate of India-Japan ties, is known for his strong views on China.

"Prime minister Abe and I will work together to strengthen our strategic partnership, impart new momentum to our economic cooperation and deepen our dialogue on shared regional and global interests," said Singh. He added Japan, "the beautiful country" he visited first in 1971, was close to his heart.

"Our defence and security dialogue, military exercises and defence technology collaboration should grow," said Singh, who is in Japan on a three-day visit.

"The Indo-Pacific region is witnessing profound social and economic changes on a scale and at a speed rarely seen in human history. It has experienced an unprecedented rise in freedom, opportunity and prosperity over the last half century", Singh said.

Japan, meanwhile, is set to announce loan assistance to Mumbai after the two ministers meet.