Pranab in Japan to improve bilateral ties | india | Hindustan Times
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Pranab in Japan to improve bilateral ties

Japan has been seeking to build warmer ties with India to balance out tension between Tokyo and Beijing.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 11:20 IST

Defence minister arrived in Tokyo on Thursday on a start of a trip to Japan and China, which are both seeking to improve ties with New Delhi.

Pranab Mukherjee was due to meet on Thursday with Japanese defence chief Fukushiro Nukaga and to hold talks on Friday with Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, Indian and Japanese officials said.

The Indian delegation will also visit companies in hopes that "Japanese defence industries will play a niche role in India's defence modernization," an Indian defence ministry statement said.

Japan has been seeking to build warmer ties with India to balance out tension between Tokyo and Beijing, which accuses Japan of failing to atone for its wartime aggression.

Abe, seen as a frontrunner to be the next prime minister, said earlier this year, "our relations with India have been relatively weak though it is a country very friendly to Japan," noting that both were democracies.

Mukherjee is due to arrive in Beijing on Sunday for a five-day visit in which he will meet Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.