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Manmohan Singh's love affair with Japan

Last updated on: May 28, 2013 17:29 IST

Manmohan Singh's love affair with Japan

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Vipin Vijayan in Tokyo

On the eve of his talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh minced no words while expressing his intense love for the Asian giant, reports Vipin Vijayan, who is accompanying the PM to Japan and Thailand.

Delivering a speech at the reception hosted by the Japan-India Association, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh confessed: "Japan has been close to my heart ever since I first visited this beautiful country in 1971. It has been my dream to see our relationship grow and prosper, and this is an objective towards which I have worked in the last nine years of my tenure as the prime minister of India. Today, I am heartened to witness the transformation of India-Japan relations into a durable partnership. I have no doubt your efforts and initiatives will continue to be a source of great strength for the relationship."

Taking a subtle dig at China, Dr Singh credited Japan for showing the way forward to Asia. 

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addresses the Japan India Association in Tokyo on Tuesday
Photographs: Courtesy: PIB

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'Japan has shown us the way forward'

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He said, "Asia's resurgence began over a century ago on this island of the Rising Sun. Ever since, Japan has shown us the way forward. India and Japan have a shared vision of a rising Asia. Over the past decade, therefore, our two countries have established a new relationship based on shared values and shared interests. Japan's rise as a modern, knowledge-based industrial power was a source of inspiration to India's great national leaders."

Projecting India and Japan as among the major actors in Asia, the prime minister said that 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."

"At the same time, this region faces multiple challenges, unresolved issues and unsettled questions. Historical differences persist despite our growing inter-dependence; prosperity has not fully eliminated disparities within and between states; and there are continuing threats to stability and security," he said, adding, "It is in this moment of flux and change that we also have the greatest opportunity to chart a new course for Asia in this century. With the weight of the global economy and its drivers of growth shifting to this region, its future will also shape the contours of the world in this century."

Lavishing more praise on Japan, Dr Singh said the nation had inspired Asia's surge to prosperity and remained integral to the future of the continent.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Gursharan Kaur at the reception hosted by the Japan India Association Tuesday
Photographs: Courtesy: PIB

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'We see Japan as a natural and indispensable partner'

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"The world has a huge stake in Japan's success in restoring the momentum of its growth. Your continued leadership in enterprise, technology and innovation and your ability to remain the locomotive of Asian renaissance are crucial," he said.

"Our relationship with Japan has been at the heart of our 'Look East Policy'.  We see 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 Oceans."

Dr Singh recalled Abe's 'inspiring and visionary' address to the Indian Parliament in August 2007, when he spoke of "the confluence of the two seas" -- the Pacific and the Indian Oceans -- which defined the new framework for our bilateral relationship.

The prime minister also suggested three areas of cooperation:

Strengthening regional mechanisms and forums that will help develop habits of consultation and cooperation, enable the two countries to evolve commonly-accepted principles for managing differences, reinforce congruence in the region and allow them to address common challenges;

Promoting wider and deeper regional economic integration and enhance regional connectivity for balanced and broad-based economic development;

Upholding the principles of freedom of navigation and unimpeded lawful commerce in accordance with international law, resolve maritime issues peacefully and work together more purposefully to harness the potential of the seas and address common sea-based challenges such as piracy.


Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addresses the Japan India Association in Tokyo on Tuesday
Photographs: Courtesy: PIB
Tags: Japan , Dr Singh , Pacific , Abe , Asia

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