India keen on economic partnership pact with Japan: PM

Indo Asian News Service

India keen on economic partnership pact with Japan: PM

New Delhi, Delhi, India, 2006-12-05

Ahead of his visit to Tokyo next week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed the hope that India and Japan will launch negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement soon.

In an interview to Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, Manmohan Singh, who begins his four-day visit to Tokyo Dec 13, also backed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s proposal to open a four-way strategic dialogue among India, Japan, Australia and the US.

’We’re very keen that we should accelerate the tempo, and once our political leadership gives the direction, we can move pretty fast. We do need a comprehensive economic partnership agreement between India and Japan,’ he said.

’A comprehensive economic engagement between India and Japan will be a key element of the global partnership we’re trying to forge,’ Manmohan Singh stressed while inviting Japanese companies to take advantage of new opportunities offered by the growing Indian economy.

He also referred to the recommendations made by the India-Japan Joint Study Group in its recent report to remove obstacles and barriers to economic cooperation between the two Asian powers.

’One of its key recommendations is establishing a comprehensive economic partnership agreement. I hope we can start discussions on this at the earliest opportunity,’ the prime minister stressed.

Seeking support for India’s quest for civilian nuclear energy, Manmohan Singh urged the international community to distinguish between democratic states such as India and ’others who have pursued clandestine programmes and indulged in proliferation’ like North Korea.

He underlined the cooperation between India and Japan in the G4 grouping that also includes Brazil and Germany for the expansion of the UN Security Council.

The prime minister admitted that there were ’important roadblocks’, but in the long run the world will have ’to recognise that the membership of the Security Council must in fact reflect the ground realities of 2006’.

Manmohan Singh said he was looking forward to the visit and added that there was a need for ’better understanding of Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe’s idea of closer cooperation among major democracies in the region’.

’India and Japan are the largest and the most developed democracies in Asia. We share a strong commitment to freedom, the rule of law and respect for human rights,’ he said while underlining the shared values and interests needed for a long-term relationship between the two Asian giants.

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source: India PRwire