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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi listens to his Japan's counterpart Fumio Kishida before their meeting at the lawns of the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on March 19, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said Japan aims to invest $42 billion over the next five years in India after he met his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida in Delhi.

“Japan will raise its investment target in India to an ambitious 5 trillion yen or Rs3.2 lakh crore ($42 billion) over the next five years,” Modi announced.

Before the bilateral talks Modi met Kishida at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi. The two leaders held productive talks during which ways to boost economic and cultural relations between the two countries were discussed, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a tweet.

“Advancing friendship with Japan. Prime Ministers @narendramodi and @kishida230 held productive talks in New Delhi. Both leaders discussed ways to boost economic and cultural linkages between the two countries,” the PMO tweeted.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) informed that the 14th annual India-Japan Annual Summit, aimed at enhancing bilateral relations between two countries began today.

“The 14th Annual Summit gets underway with a meeting between PM @narendramodi and Japanese PM @kishida230. Another step toward advancing the India-Japan partnership - a partnership for peace, prosperity and progress,” tweeted MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

Promoting peace

A joint statement had said they “discussed the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and assessed its broader implications”.

A separate Indian readout pointedly “underlined that the Quad must remain focused on its core objective of promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”

In a televised press statement, Kishida said the investment plan will bring huge benefits for several industries, from the development of urban infrastructure to green energy.

Kishida also said the two sides reaffirmed Japan and India’s commitment to strengthen security ties across the Indo-Pacific region and held discussions over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Ahead of Kishida’s visit, the first by a Japanese premier since 2017, a foreign ministry official said Tokyo was “aware” of Delhi’s “geographical location and historical ties to Russia”.

“But at the same time we share fundamental values and strategic interests so naturally there will be candid discussions about how we view the Ukraine situation, and also expect to hear a similar explanation from Prime Minister Modi,” the official told reporters.

He added that Modi, 71, and Kishida, 64, would also discuss “issues closer to our region” such as a “free and open Indo-Pacific” - a reference to China - and bilateral issues.

“That will be more the opportunity to take stock of the bilateral cooperation as well as reaffirming our shared strategic vision and interests rather than emphasising on what our differences are,” the official said.

India’s foreign ministry said only that the talks aimed to “review and strengthen the bilateral cooperation in diverse areas as well as exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest so as to advance their partnership for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.”