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PM to discuss N-cooperation with Japan
December 12, 2006 14:52 IST
Cooperation in civil nuclear energy and comprehensive economic engagement will be high on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's agenda as he embarks on a four-day trip to Japan from Wednesday.
A number of new FDI ventures are on the anvil in petrochemicals, automobiles, auto components, pharmaceuticals and the financial sector.
In Tokyo, Dr Singh will hold talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a wide range of issues. He will also meet the Japanese emperor and have the honour of addressing the joint session of Japanese Parliament.
Civil nuclear energy cooperation are expected to be one of the main issues of discussions between Dr Singh and Abe.
The Indian side is expected to seek Japan's support for its quest for nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Discussions with Japan on the civil nuclear issue in the backdrop of the Indo-US nuclear deal are "ongoing" and the situation is still "evolving", officials in New Delhi said.
India attaches great importance to its relations with Japan as it considers it to be the "focal point" in the 'Look East policy'.
"We believe that our bilateral relations are poised to enter an even more vibrant and dynamic phase based on converging long-term strategic political and economic interests and our shared desire to enhance the relationship," Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon said in New Delhi last week while briefing the media on the prime minister's visit.
Dr Singh was initially scheduled to travel to Philippines prior to the Japan visit for ASEAN-India Summit, but the meet was postponed due to a brewing storm.
An important part of Dr Singh's hectic schedule is a luncheon meeting with representatives of Japan's apex chambers.
There is growing interest among Japanese financial institutions in portfolio investment in India.
Japan is the third largest investor in India with cumulative investments totalling $2.1 billion.
"A key driving force in the relationship is the shared desire to move towards comprehensive economic engagement," Menon said.
The prime ministerial visit will take place after a gap of five years.
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited Japan in December 2001.
From the Japanese side, prime minister Junichiro Koizumi visited India in April 2005.
Menon said this visit represents a marked upturn and a "new beginning" in Indo-Japanese relations.
With both sides seeking to raise bilateral ties to a "new level" of partnership, Menon was confident of a "subtantive outcome" of Dr Singh's visit.