New Delhi: The prime ministers of India and Japan, Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe, are expected to hold wide-ranging talks in strengthening collaboration in key areas such as Defence, security and technology during the 13th India-Japan annual summit slated to be held on October 28 and 29.
Addressing a briefing here, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said, "This is the 13th such summit and fifth overall for our Prime Minister. The visit is characterised both by special strategic and global partnership that we have established with Japan and the personal relationship that the Prime Minister has evolved with his counterpart."
Gokhale informed that Prime Minister Modi will visit Yamanashi Prefecture on October 28, located in the foothills of Mount Fuji and an informal lunch will be held in the honour of the Prime Minister by Abe at a hotel situated with Mount Fuji in the backdrop.
After lunch, the two leaders will take a stroll around the hotel, after which they will visit a leading manufacturing company of factory automation system in the prefecture.
Gokhale continued, "Prime Minister Abe will take the Prime Minister to his personal home in Yamanashi for a private dinner. This will be the first time a foreign leader is visiting Abe's second home or holiday home. The two leaders will return to Tokyo by train."
In Tokyo, Prime Minister Modi will address members of the Indian community before commencing his official engagements.
"After the event, this will be followed by important calls on the Prime Minister. There will be a series of business events, which includes a group of Japanese venture capital companies who will call on the Prime Minister. There will be a lunch with the top industrial bodies, followed by meetings between India-Japan business leaders' forum. The Prime Minister will address the business forum," Gokhale elucidated.
He added that there will be a ceremonial welcome of Prime Minister Modi, followed by delegation-level talks, press statements and exchange of documents before an official banquet will be held for the Indian delegation by the Japanese Prime Minister. Prime Minister Modi will then leave for India on the evening of October 29.
Underlining that the visit is Prime Minister Modi's vision of linking North-East India with ASEAN as part of the Act East Policy, Gokhale said, "Digital partnership will be focused by the two leaders, which will have a bearing on the Digital India initiative. There will be a focus on how we can collaborate on Artificial Intelligence in the Internet of Things and big data. We are hoping to have some kind of synergy between Prime Minister's Ayushman Bharat programme and the Japanese's programme of Asia Health and Well Being initiative. How we can leverage Japan's strength in medical equipment and hospitals will be something that the two leaders can explore."
"Defence and security are key areas also important to us, due to the growing focus of our strategic partnership over the years. Further discussions will take place on research and development in robotics and unmanned ground vehicles. Work has started. The leaders could review on these initiatives as well," he added.
Gokhale stated that the first military exercise between India and Japan will take place on October 29 when the annual summit is underway.
"Prime Minister Modi's visit will reaffirm the traditional bonds of friendship between the two countries and strengthen their multifaceted cooperation in diverse fields. It will also advance the vision of India and Japan working together to promote peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond," he said.
When asked on the focus of Japan's connectivity with North East India, the Foreign Secretary said the two countries could start negotiations on the acquisition and cross-servicing agreement.
In response to the construction of a roadway between the two nations to enhance connectivity as a counter to China's Belt and Road Initiative, Gokhale replied, "We are ready to collaborate but the issue is following certain norms of transparency and mutual respect for sovereignty. Within the principles we have defined, we have neither denied or shut the doors on collaboration with anybody."
Commenting on Prime Minister Abe's visit to China, Gokhale underlined that the visit will not have an impact on the bilateral ties between New Delhi and Tokyo. He called for the improvement of relations between China and Japan.