Interaction with H.E. Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu, Japan's Ambassador to India
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On March 17, 2016, a broad panel of eminent foreign policy experts representing the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) engaged Japan’s present Ambassador to India H.E. Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu in an interaction going over the entire gamut of India-Japan bilateral relations. While reviewing progress in bilateral developments over the past few years, more precisely since the Modi-led government came to power in India in May 2014, the discussants during the interactive session also mulled strategies to put the bilateral ties between India and Japan on a fast forward mode, especially keeping in view the momentum generated by the back to back visits of the two prime ministers to one another’s countries as also the rapidly changing geo-political environment in the region encompassing India and Japan.

While General NC Vij, Director, VIF, as part of his opening remarks, presented a fascinating account of important milestones covered by both countries in their bilateral relationship, H.E. Mr. kenji Hiramatsu, widely regarded as the architect of Japan’s new defence policy, stressed India as one of the top strategic priorities for Japan. Among other things, the interaction focused on developing synergies between the two nations, more precisely, strategies for inter-locking the partnership through deeper economic engagements, with shared values and culture providing the base for it. One of the key takeaways from the interaction lay in the fact that with Japan on board, sharing manufacturing technologies in key sectors, India can emerge as a force of stability in the region. The interaction also highlighted that the signing of a ’Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ agreement during Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s landmark visit to Japan in September 2014 has opened up possibilities for immense cooperation between the two countries. Discussants were largely of the view that bilateral ties between Japan and India can hugely benefit from the personal chemistry shared between the Prime Ministers of the two countries. The impetus provided by the leaders of the two countries however need to be capitalized early on for developing stronger ties, before it gets lost in bureaucratic tangles or diplomatic niceties. The impression one got from the interaction was that deeper economic engagements between India and Japan will lay the foundation for a vibrant defence and security cooperation between the two countries in the years ahead. To that extent, the interaction focused on exploring newer areas of cooperation between the two countries, with cooperation in disaster mitigation technologies, especially in earthquake, carbon-efficient technologies, power generation and tourism, among others, emerging as areas where both Japan and India can potentially collaborate more vigourously as compared to technology-sharing in sectors which could lead some people to raise their eyebrows in a few Circles. In so far multispectral engagements are concerned, possibilities for developing Japan-United States-India trilateral into a quadrilateral one, India’s membership to the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and expansion of the UN Security Council, among others, were discussed in the broader framework of Japan-India bilateral cooperation.

Event Date 
March 17, 2016
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