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India’s Modi tours Kyoto temple with Abe ahead of Tokyo summit

AFP-JIJI

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi toured the ancient city of Kyoto on Sunday, the second day of a visit intended to strengthen security and economic relations and counter a increasingly assertive China.

Modi was accompanied by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on his visit to a historic temple a day after he had a private dinner with Abe.

It is unusual for the prime minister to greet a foreign guest outside Tokyo.

The two leaders visited the 1,200-year-old Buddhist temple of Toji, a World Heritage site, and offered prayers in front of ancient statues early Sunday.

They also took a short walk near a five-story pagoda in the company of a priest. Buddhism, born in the Indian subcontinent, was brought to Japan through China and Korea in the sixth century.

Later in the day Modi met Nobel Prize-winning stem cell researcher Shinya Yamanaka, who heads the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University and briefed the Indian leader about cutting-edge research.

Modi arrived Saturday at Kansai International Airport near Osaka and spent the night in Kyoto.

On Monday he will hold an official summit with Abe in Tokyo as well as meet with business leaders.

Both nations hope to curb Beijing’s rising activity in the East and South China seas and the Indian Ocean.

In New Delhi, Modi told Japanese media in an interview last week that the two nations could “upgrade” their relations in the fields of defense and security.

“I see in the recent changes in Japan’s defense export policies and regulations a possibility to engage in a new era of cooperation in high-end defence technology and equipment,” he said.

At the summit the two leaders are likely to agree on launching a “two-plus-two” security consultative framework involving their foreign and defense ministers, according to Japanese media.

Japan already has such arrangements with the United States, Australia, Russia and France.

India and Japan will also try to conclude talks on a civilian nuclear agreement that will allow Tokyo to export nuclear-related technology to New Delhi, reports said.

They are also expected to agree jointly to produce rare earths that could be exported to Japan, a move that will further reduce Japan’s reliance on China for the supply of such minerals.

Rare earths are vital for the manufacture of high-tech products such as hybrid cars and mobile phones.

  • idrent

    Good to see Indian PM trying to forge very strong relationship with Japan. All Indians are looking forward to from a great alliance between these two great nations for stability and prosperity in the region.
    We also thank PM Abe for his hospitality and warmth shown.

  • Bhagat

    PM Abe has shown to be a true friend of India.
    These two established democracies in ASIA can benefit immensely from each others closer cooperation. India’s economic growth will also be Japans’.

    They can also establish a new proud Asian identity rooted in their indigenous cultures; distinct from the west’s.

    Progress,development and technology in the past came from the East; it is time to re-establish this old paradigm.

  • KRA

    Japan and India are natural allies. Finally India’s feckless foreign policy is showing signs of life. Forging ties with Japan is the best strategy that is mutually beneficial. Better late than never. Good Job Modi!

  • DanLeonard

    A single development which could make a revolutionary impact on Indo-Japan relations is the civilian nuclear agreement, as it can transform the relations of the two countries to strategic closeness. For this to happen, Japan needs to give up stubbornness and be more pragmatic. As for India nuclear weapons ensure security against two belligerent & aggressive neighbours like Pakistan & China and hence Japan should not insist on India to give up its nuclear weapons program just to sign NPT. Japan should know that India, if allowed. is ready to sign NPT only as a nuclear weapons state. India’s non-proliferation credentials have been impeccable. Hence enough of negotiations which are going on for years. Just conclude the nuclear agreement now.

    Also, India is in the midst of upgrading its mostly Soviet era weapons. And India, which spent about $ 48 billion dollars last years on defence budget and is the largest importer of weapons, is planning to spend about $ 300 billion during the next decade to import arms to close the growing gap against the rapidly expanding Chinese military. This would be a golden opportunity for Japanese high tech arms industry to collaborate with India and help it modernize its weapons. This will also boost up the Japanese defence industry. This would need Japan to change its regulations & laws about non-export of weapons.