PM Modi’s participation in G7 Summit to boost synergy with G20: Japan envoy
India is among eight countries invited to participate in outreach sessions of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima during May 19-21
Japan believes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s participation in the G7 Summit will build synergy between the G7 and G20 processes, especially to address the issues of the Global South, Japanese ambassador Hiroshi Suzuki said on Thursday.
India is among eight countries invited to participate in outreach sessions of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima during May 19-21, and Modi can speak “with legitimacy” for developing countries after having heard concerns of more than 100 of these nations during the Voice of Global South Summit in January, Suzuki said in an interview.
“We would be very grateful if Prime Minister Modi can share his vision of how [he is] going to set the G20 agenda based on the outcome of the G7 Summit, because that way we [can] have more synergy,” Suzuki said.
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida believes close coordination between G20 and G7 is “critically important” to forge unity in an increasing polarised world to address challenges faced by developing countries, including rising food and energy prices, energy security, climate change, sustainable development and health, he said.
“These are all important challenges and saying we have sympathy towards the Global South, we need to collaborate with the Global South – words alone cannot deliver. We need concrete action and that’s what Prime Minister Kishida hopes to move forward,” Suzuki said.
Japan will be the first stop on Modi’s three-nation tour beginning on Friday, and a meeting between the Indian and Japanese premiers on the margins of the G7 Summit will be an opportunity to take stock of progress in bilateral ties since Kishida’s visit to New Delhi in March.
“The two leaders will have an opportunity to meet again on the margins of the G20 Summit in September. This would be a very good midway point [for] the two leaders [to] take stock of the progress and give political impetus for further progress to be made going into the G20 Summit,” Suzuki said.
For Japan, two key themes for the G7 Summit are upholding rule of law, especially in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and engagement with the global community, particularly the Global South, Suzuki said.
“We cannot afford to go back to the law of the jungle. With the Russian aggression of Ukraine, Russia is destroying the core values of the international community enshrined in the UN Charter, such as sovereignty, respect for territorial integrity and the rule of law,” he said, adding a big country bullying a smaller neighbourhood and getting away with it could inspire similar actions in other parts of the world.
“Prime Minister Kishida’s point is this kind of unilateral attempt to change the status quo must not be allowed anywhere in the world, period...By emphasizing the importance of upholding the rule of law, sovereignty, territorial integrity, we want the rule of law to prevail all over the world, including the Indo-Pacific, East China Sea, South China Sea,” he said.
On the bilateral front, Suzuki said Japan’s new National Security Strategy opens new avenues for cooperation with India in the realm of defence, including the Indian side benefiting from a new category of assistance known as Official Security Assistance.
“The new National Security Strategy is a historic step forward and it has a specific mention of India. With this new strategy, the Japanese government is going to create a new framework of assistance called Official Security Assistance [whereby] the Japanese government, for the first time, will be able to extend assistance directly to the department of defence and armed forces of foreign countries,” he said.
Japan’s National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy and Defense Buildup Program were unveiled last December, and the government is now fleshing out details. “Of course, we envisage India among the countries to which Japan would like to extend this new Official Security Assistance...It will give another dimension to defence cooperation between Japan and India,” he added.
Suzuki said security cooperation between Japan and India has made “major progress” in recent years and the two sides now have joint exercises for all three services. The two sides also decided at their 2+2 ministerial meeting last September to hold joint staff talks, and the first such talks will be held in the coming months.