In his first state visit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has met with a kindred spirit, Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe. The two leaders, wary of China's glowing clout in Asia, have agreed to strengthen defense ties.
During his visit to Japan on Monday, Indian Prime Minister Modi warned Asian powers against territorial expansionism, in a veiled reference to China's ambitions in the region.
"The 18th century situation of expansionism is now visible," Modi said, after holding talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the historic city of Kyoto. "Such expansionism would never benefit humanity in the 21st century."
Modi didn't specifically mention Beijing, but China and India contest several regions along their common border. Abe shares Modi's suspicion of China's intentions in the region. Beijing and Tokyo dispute the Senkaku Islands, called the Diaoyu in Chinese.
Over the summer, Prime Minister Abe's Cabinet approved a reinterpretation of Japan's pacifist constitution, permitting Tokyo to defend allies and deploy troops abroad for combat missions.
'Strategic, global partnership'
Although Abe and Modi failed to set up a permanent forum for their foreign and defense ministers to hold regular consultations, they did agree to "upgrade and strengthen" their defense ties. Tokyo is keen to sell New Delhi US-2 amphibian aircraft. The two countries also agreed to participate in joint maritime drills, and for Japan to continue participating in US-India drills.
"Together, working hand-in-hand with Prime Minister Modi, I intend to fundamentally strengthen our relationship in every field to elevate our relationship to a special strategic and global partnership," Prime Minister Abe said.
The two leaders also agreed to double Japan's investment in India over the course of five years to a total of 3.5 trillion yen ($33.6 billion, 25.5 billion euros).
slk/kms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)