A free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific is the need of the hour for the overall benefit of the region

India and Japan on Wednesday reviewed the progress made in their Special Strategic and Global Partnership and discussed convergence in various areas, including maritime security, trade and investment, manufacturing, skill development, connectivity and infrastructure, health and wellness, Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI) and UN Reforms.

This development took place following the 13th India-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Japanese counterpart Motegi Toshimitsu in Tokyo.

Talking about their meeting, the External Affairs Minister tweeted, “Just concluded India-Japan Strategic Dialogue with FM Motegi, Conveyed warm birthday greetings. Discussions covered our cooperation in manufacturing, skills, infrastructure, ICT and health. Our special partnership can make a big difference in post-COVID recovery.”

During their meeting, the two ministers “emphasized that a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region must be premised on diversified and resilient supply chains; and in this context, welcomed the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative between India, Japan, Australia and other like-minded countries,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

The two ministers concurred that the Indo-Pacific region has acquired greater salience in recent times and underscored the need for India and Japan to work together for the benefit of the region.

“Reaffirming the similarities in their respective Indo-Pacific visions that are based on rule of law and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Japanese side agreed to be the lead partner in the connectivity pillar of the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI) and jointly take both countries’ respective visions for the Indo-Pacific forward,” the Ministry added.

Besides, recognizing the increasing role being played by digital technologies, the two ministers highlighted the need for robust and resilient digital and cyber systems and in this context, welcomed the finalization of the text of the cyber security agreement. The agreement promotes cooperation in capacity building, research and development, security and resilience in the areas of Critical Information Infrastructure, 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), among others.

While reaffirming mutual trust and shared values, the two ministers also exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest and agreed that the strong and enduring partnership between the two countries will play a pivotal role in overcoming challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.