Vladivostok [Russia]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the 5th East Economic Forum in Russia's Far Eastern state earlier today, discussed the bilateral ties shared between India and Japan, with particular emphasis on the forthcoming visit of the Japanese Prime Minister to India for the annual summit that would take place sometime in December.
Addressing the media after the bilateral engagements of the two Prime Ministers, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said that dates of the annual summit will be negotiated and announced in due course.
During their meeting, Gokhale said that both leaders also agreed that the first 2+2 ministerial meetings, between the Foreign and Defence ministers of the two countries will be held preferably before this annual summit.
In that context, Prime Minister Abe also mentioned about the just-concluded visit of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to Japan. He also remarked that during the visit substantial issues were discussed on taking forward the exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in the fields of defence.
The foreign secretary added that discussions also took place on regional and international affairs. Both leaders also gave a very positive assessment of the Japan-India-US trilateral meeting, two of which have been held on the margins of G20 summits in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last year, and Osaka, Japan, in June this year.
Gokhale stated that the two sides also held discussions on the Indo-Pacific, an issue in which both India and Japan share similar views. Abe spoke of the free and open Indo-Pacific bilateral cooperation in that regard people to people ties, economies to build a secure region, he said.
In addition, one of the important issues touched during the discussions was Africa as India and Japan are beginning to have cooperation trilaterally along with the African countries. Abe mentioned specifically that during his visit to India the two sides will have further discussions in this regard, Gokhle noted.
They also touched upon Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the regional cooperation agreement that is being negotiated by 16 countries including those of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.
Prime Minister Modi mentioned in particular that India has some issues of interest in trade both in goods and services. And it should be kept in mind when any regional agreement is made, the foreign secretary added.
This was the third meeting between Modi and Abe in a period of three months. The two leaders had also met on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Biarritz in August.