• Kyodo


New Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Japan in July, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said Friday.

Akbaruddin said Modi has received an invitation from Japan and the visit will take place at “an early date.” The dates are being finalized.

“As of now I can only say that the Indian prime minister’s visit to Japan will take place in the month of July,” he said.

Earlier, diplomatic sources in Japan said Modi and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are expected to ensure “close coordination” in dealing with China’s growing assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region during the visit.

Abe hopes to demonstrate good Japan-India relations at a time when Tokyo is at odds with Beijing over territorial and historical issues, the sources added.

Relations between Tokyo and Beijing have sunk to their lowest level in years since the Japanese government purchased a major part of the Senkaku Islands from their private Japanese owner in September 2012. The purchase was apparently made to outbid Tokyo’s nationalist governor at the time, Shintaro Ishihara, who had mounted a bid to buy the uninhabited islets.

Abe and Modi are also expected to discuss how to advance negotiations on a bilateral nuclear energy pact while confirming plans to lay the ground for the export of US2 amphibious rescue aircraft to India.

In New Delhi, Akbaruddin said that, because Indian foreign policy’s first priority is its “neighborhood,” Modi’s first foreign visit will be to Bhutan later this month.

Modi will also travel to the United States in September for a summit with President Barack Obama.

“We have received a specific date from the U.S. (and) are now in contact with the U.S. to work out what would be mutually convenient,” he said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is to pay a two-day visit to India from Sunday and will meet with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Modi.

An official press release said Wang will visit “in the capacity of special envoy of the president of China.”

Modi was sworn in as Indian prime minister May 26 after leading the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to a landslide victory in the general election.