The Hindu, India
India, Japan agree to deepen strategic partnership
22 November 2007
Singapore (PTI): India and Japan on Wednesday decided to advance the conclusion of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by mid 2008, six months ahead of previous target.
This was decided after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met his new Japanese counterpart Yasuo Fukuda for the first time on the sidelines of the East Asian summit here.
"The Indian side said the talks on an economic partnership agreement with Japan are moving forward and that New Delhi wanted to conclude it mid next year," a Japanese government spokesman said, adding Fukuda concurred with New Delhi’s proposal.
Singh and then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had pledged in December last year to conclude the FTA talks within two years.
During the meeting, the two prime ministers also decided to cement bilateral ties and implement the commitment of their governments to establish a ’Strategic Global Partnership’.
Singh and Fukuda expressed their commitment to Strategic and Global Partnership and exchanged views on the way to deepen their partnership, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said.
Both agreed on the need to expedite progress on projects that are part of the Special Economic Partnership Initiative. They reviewed the progress on the dedicated freight corridor and the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor, he said.
The two leaders decided to strengthen their cooperation in regional and multilateral fora on important issues such as UN Security Council reforms and climate change, Sarna said.
The two leaders also shared the view that the East Asia Summit is an important building block for creating an Asian Economic Community, and pledged to work closely to further this objective. Singh also accepted Fukuda’s invitation to visit Japan.