The Japanese Ambassador to India, Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu, has expressed optimism over the setting up of new projects with India in the areas of defence and security, connectivity infrastructure, ‘Make in India’ programme with special focus on skill development, environment protection and promotion of Japanese language education.
Speaking on ‘Road Ahead: Frontier of Japan-India Relationship’, organised by FICCI’s Forum of Parliamentarians and the Embassy of Japan in India, Mr. Hiramatsu said, “It is my firm conviction that Japan-India relationship is an element of certainty in an increasingly uncertain and volatile world.”
The Ambassador announced that the Japanese Embassy and FICCI’s Forum of Parliamentarians have agreed to jointly engage with Indian states by way of seminars to highlight geo-political and geo-economic aspects of cooperation between Indian States and Japan that are of interest to Indian MPs, industry and academics in Indian states. Through these dialogues “we are hoping to show that our bilateral relations have gone deeper and wider to a level to have strategic engagements at the state level,” he added.
The Members of Parliament who shared their perspectives on India-Japan relations and made suggestions on the way forward to strengthen ties included Mr. Harish Chandra Meena (BJP), Mr. Rabindra Jena (BJD), Mr. R Radhakrishnan (AINRC), Mr. Rajeev Shukla (INC), Mr. Rahul Kaswan (BJP), Mr. Dinesh Trivedi (TMC), Mr. Vincent Pala (INC) and Mr. Nagendra Pradhan (BJD).
In a message to Indian stakeholders who engage in the Japan-India relationship, Mr. Hiramatsu said that new avenues of cooperation between the two countries were emerging in start-ups, food processing, sanitation and health, science and technology, intellectual exchanges and sports exchanges.
In the area of cooperation on defence equipment and technology, Mr. Hiramatsu said that Japan has started technical discussions with India on future research collaboration in Unmanned Ground Vehicles and Robotics. “Our readiness to provide our state-of-the-art US-2 amphibian aircraft has been appreciated by the Government of India as symbolizing the high degree of trust between the two countries. We look forward to more tangible outcomes in the future,” he said.
He said that Japan and India are also enhancing connectivity within India. As a prime example in this regard, Japan and India have launched the Act East Forum to advance economic development including connectivity in India’s North Eastern Region as well as to foster people-to-people exchanges.
Mr. Hiramatsu said that “Our investment earlier concentrated on the infrastructure and manufacturing sectors but now has diversified into retail, service and other sectors. India has been named the most promising mid-to long-term investment destination for Japanese companies. Now that most of large Japanese companies have established their bases in India, we are encouraging our Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to invest here. The expanding investment by Japanese companies will further contribute to ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ initiatives.”
Expressing Japan’s commitment to promoting the ‘Clean India’ mission, Mr. Hiramatsu said that Japan was ready to cooperate with the Indian people to think together and act together to address the issue of atmospheric pollution environment in this country.
He also highlighted the importance of people-to-people contact in upgrading bilateral relations and said that fluency in the Japanese language would be of great benefit to the Indian people not only in terms of better mutual understanding but for augmenting businesses and job opportunities. An increased number of Japanese language speakers would also benefit Japanese entities in India which endeavour to enhance their scope of operation in India, he said.