NEW DELHI: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday announced over USD 75 billion worth of infrastructure and security assistance for the Indo-Pacific during his visit to India, Nikkei Asia reported.
The pledge by Kishida was made during his speech at an event organized by the Indian Council of World Affairs think tank, after a one-on-one summit with Modi, in which he invited the Indian leader to attend the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima in May.
PM Modi immediately accepted, reported Nikkei Asia.
According to Nikkei Asia, the new development assistance, to be supplied by 2030 in conjunction with the private sector, came as Kishida outlined his own vision for a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” He credited his late predecessor Shinzo Abe with pushing the concept back in 2016.
Since then, Kishida said, the international community has seen major events that could be described as paradigm shifts, including the COVID pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This obliges “us to face the most fundamental challenge — defending peace,” the Japanese leader said.
Kishida’s two-day visit to India comes against a backdrop of not only war in Europe but also concerns about growing Chinese influence across the Indo-Pacific region. This has included major infrastructure investment under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, fueling development but also raising concerns about unsustainable debt in Global South nations such as Sri Lanka, according to Nikkei Asia.
The Japanese Prime Minister has called for advancing “quality infrastructure investment,” in line with the goals of the Group of 20, chaired by India this year. The PM has as part of the proposed aid, also offered free security assistance to the armed forces of like-minded nations.
But he also warned against unchecked “division and confrontation.”
“In the international community, a big balance of power change is occurring,” he said in his speech, which was delivered in Japanese. The idea of a free and open Indo-Pacific, he stressed, is rooted in the rule of law as well as respect for diversity, inclusiveness and openness. “In other words, we do not exclude anyone, we do not create camps.”
Kishida added, “I believe we should aim for a world where diverse nations coexist and prosper together under the rule of law without falling into the geopolitical competition.” Saying his vision required the cooperation of multiple stakeholders, he said, “Of course, India is indispensable.”
PM Modi, his Japan counterpart Kishida on Monday exchanged views on defence equipment and technology cooperation, trade, health, digital partnership and also had a fruitful discussion on importance of reliable supply chains in semiconductor and other critical technologies.
The two leaders had “excellent talks” during Kishida’s visit to New Delhi with PM Modi stating that strengthening bilateral partnership is not only important for both our countries, it also promotes peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. (ANI)