Japan, India leaders agree to step up defense, economic ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping greets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prior to their talks in Beijing on Oct. 26 2018. ==Kyodo

"The aim is to further work towards world peace and stability", PM Modi said at the joint statement with Abe.

The leaders of Japan and India are reaffirming their ties amid growing worries about trade and regional stability.

Mr Modi said, India had successfully organized FIFA Under- 17 World Cup last year and this year Hockey World Cup 2018 is being organized at Bhubaneswar.

The 2+2 Dialogue will be an addition to the existing mechanisms like the Annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue, Defence Policy Dialogue, the National Security Advisers' Dialogue, and Staff-level Dialogue.

"The two leaders reaffirmed their shared commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons and remained resolute in the task of strengthening global cooperation to address the challenges of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism", the statement said.

Relations with China are a major issue shared by Modi and Abe, as their cooperation might balance China's growing regional influence and military assertiveness. The two leaders also affirmed that Asean unity and centrality are at the heart of the Indo-Pacific concept, which is inclusive and open to all.

He was speaking at a press conference after a summit with his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe.

Modi, through an interpreter, responded, "Without India-Japan cooperation, there will be no development in Asia into the next century".

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By 2022, India's digital economy is expected to grow to Dollars 1 trillion and lead to creation of 10 million jobs, according to consulting firm EY.

In comments to the media, Modi said, "Without the cooperation of India and Japan, 21st century can not be a century of Asia". This is substantially more than the $30 billion currency swap arrangement announced between China and Japan.

Experts said Abe, who last week became the first Japanese prime minister to visit Beijing since 2011, was performing a delicate balancing act - working to improve ties with China while keeping relations with India on a strong footing.

At Monday's summit meeting, Abe and Modi are likely to reconfirm cooperation under a framework among countries including Japan, India and the United States, as well as Japan-India defense cooperation. "This has resulted in a healthy competition among them for investment and led to better results", the PM said.

He also met Heita Kawakatsu, the Governor of Shizuoka province, and Yuji Kuroiwa, the Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture, and discussed ways to strengthen cultural and people-to-people ties between India and Japan.

This is Modi's third visit to Japan as prime minister.

"India is going through a massive transformative phase and worldwide agencies say the country will drive the growth of the global economy in the coming decade", he told the gathering. He arrived Saturday and was invited to Abe's vacation house near Mount Fuji on Sunday for private talks.

Modi chose Japan among the first nations to visit after taking power four years ago.

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