Workers carry hoardings featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, in Ahmedabad on Monday. Abe arrives in the Gujarat capital on Wednesday.(REUTERS)
Workers carry hoardings featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, in Ahmedabad on Monday. Abe arrives in the Gujarat capital on Wednesday.(REUTERS)

Abe visit: Japan to step up support for flagship schemes, global cooperation with India

In the wake of China aggressively pushing its one-road-one-belt project, the two countries will also strive to enhance international cooperation on infrastructural programmes across Africa and Asia.
By Jayanth Jacob | Hindustan Times, Gandhinagar
UPDATED ON SEP 12, 2017 09:44 PM IST

Japan is all set to enhance support to India’s flagship programmes and announce new investments in Gujarat, besides stepping up international cooperation to counter China’s one-road-one-belt connectivity project.

Japanese premier Shinzo Abe arrives in Ahmedabad on Wednesday for a two-day visit that will feature his fourth annual summit meeting – and tenth encounter – with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After Russia, Japan is the only other country with which India holds annual summit meetings.

An ambitious agenda is on the cards at the summit, with Japan expressing its willingness to scale up investment in key flagship projects such as Make in India, Skill India and the Clean Ganga Mission. Most of it would be in continuation of the developmental-cooperation trajectory the two leaders had arrived at in 2015: The provision of soft loans to build India’s first bullet train and another $12 billion in incentives for Japanese companies investing in India. “India can leverage Japanese technology and expertise in various fields to strengthen many of the government’s flagship projects,” an official said.

Poll-bound Gujarat, which happens to be Modi’s home state, will also benefit from Japanese assistance. An agreement between the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Gujarat Maritime Board for developing the Alang shipbuilding yard, besides the establishment of two industrial parks, will be on the table during Abe’s visit.

Both the sides will also strive to enhance their international cooperation in Asia and Africa, with a sharp focus on infrastructural projects. This development comes in the wake of China aggressively pushing ahead with its one-road-one-belt connectivity project, which was boycotted by India but endorsed by its South-Asian neighbours like Sri Lanka and Nepal.

“While Indian companies enjoy a large presence in Africa, Japanese companies possess advanced technologies. If we come together there, it could be a win-win situation for both countries,” Kenji Hiramatsu, the Japanese ambassador to India, told Hindustan Times in a recent interview.

Incidentally, the fact that the African Union has 54 members – one-third of the United Nations’ total membership – can even help India and Japan achieve their dream of becoming permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

China is already expanding its economic and strategic influence in the resource-rich continent. Its new military base in Djibouti — the first in the region — has raised global concerns over the Xi Jinping government’s designs on Africa. 

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