Modi, Abe discuss global economy, fugitive economic offenders, disaster management
Osaka: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday held wide ranging talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on the global economy, issues of fugitive economic offenders and disaster management and announced that the Indian President will participate in the coronation ceremony of Emperor Naruhito in October.
It was the first meeting between the two leaders since the start of Japan’s Reiwa era and Modi’s re-election after the general polls.
Modi thanked Abe for his warm welcome to him and the Indian delegation visiting Japan for the G20 Summit. He also appreciated Japan’s leadership as the G20 chairman.
The prime minster said that President Ram Nath Kovind will participate in the coronation ceremony of Emperor Naruhito in October.
The prime minister congratulated Abe and Japan’s citizens for the start of the Reiwa era. The term for the new era is made up of the two characters Rei and Wa. Rei means “commands” or “order”, as well as “auspicious” or “good”. Wa means “harmony”, and is also used in the Japanese word for “peace”.
Prime Minister Modi said that he was looking forward to the visit of Abe to India later this year for the Annual Summit.
Later, briefing media, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said it was a “warm” meeting the two prime ministers who are “old friends” and they had a “very constructive and detailed discussion” on bilateral relationship.
“Abe initially began discussion with his expectation from the G20 Summit. They spoke about the importance of focussing on global economy,” Gokhale said.
Abe referred to the Prime Minister Modi’s initiatives on the earlier G20 meetings on the issue of fugitive economic offenders and he said the G20 should deal with this problem as part of its anti-corruption measures.
Abe also underlined the need to find appropriate measures to check the global trade issues and data flows and underlined that the G20 should also come up with a constructive message on the issue of climate change.
“These are the areas where Abe hoped that he would get the understanding and support of the G20 members, including that of India,” Gokhale said.
Prime Minister Abe also referred to his forthcoming visit to India for the Annual Bilateral Summit.
“Abe emphasised the importance of preparing for this summit properly including through ministerial meetings, through various exchanges in infrastructure, defence, outer space, digital economy and start-ups,” the foreign secretary said.
The two leaders also had a brief discussion on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor and on a convention centre being built in Varanasi, Prime Minister Modi’s constituency. They agreed on the delivery of both the projects on time.
Prime Minister Modi said he is looking forward to seeing Abe again at the Eastern Economic forum in Vladivostok in early September. Modi will be the chief guest the forum at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Modi appreciated the work Japan is doing in the infrastructure projects in North East India.
Prime Minister Modi also sought Japan’s assistance in building disaster resilient infrastructure.
Modi said Japan’s support in this area is crucial because of its experience in disaster management, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
Japan accounts for about 20 per cent of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater and is exposed to uncountable natural disasters like typhoons and active volcanoes. The country has a long history of awareness of the importance of disaster risk reduction.
Gokhale said India is seeking collaboration among countries having capacity to handle disasters.
“Every time a disaster occurs immediate relief is given, but after that small vulnerable developing countries are left to fend for themselves- it means, focus on rebuilding infrastructure without which economy cannot regain its position,” he said.
“Prime Minister Modi wants to link the disaster management capacities of the countries together so that if a disaster occurs leaders of counties know whom to go to and how to get help, rather than beginning from scratch,” he said.
“This is not to compete with UN organisations which are in relief and rehabilitation because this is about building infrastructure — India has experience and capacity to handle disasters, we can take a lead in it,” he said.
The two leaders also emphasised the need to jointly take up projects in the neighbourhood. Modi said one of the important projects India and Japan are taking forward is setting up a cancer hospital in Kenya.
The foreign secretary said prior to Abe’s visit number of meetings will take place and the most important is the first 2+2 talks between the foreign ministers and defence ministers of the two countries.
Apart from Abe, Prime Minister Modi will also meet, US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Putin and other leaders during the G20 Summit.
This will be Prime Minister Modi’s sixth G20 Summit on June 28-29.