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2008年10月25日 (土)


(Mainichi Japan) October 24, 2008

A welcome expansion of cooperation between Japan and India

社説:日印首脳会談 協力のすそ野拡大は歓迎だが

Prime Minister Taro Aso and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed Wednesday to expand cooperation across a wide range of areas including politics, economics, and security. In order to expand the reach of Japan's Asian diplomacy, it will certainly be meaningful for Japan to pay special attention to relations with India, which has been boosting its stature in the international community.


Japan and India established diplomatic relations 56 years ago, but it was not until three years ago that the leaders of these two countries began to hold regular summit meetings. Since then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited India in April 2005, yearly reciprocal visits have become an established tradition. We welcome the fact that the leaders of both countries have confirmed that the reciprocal visits will continue.


India is an important partner to Japan, and its stability is vital to Japan's energy security because oil is transported to Japan from the Middle East via sea lanes in the Indian Ocean.


Japan's ties with India are also important for efforts to reform the United Nations. In the 2005 negotiations to expand the size of the United Nations Security Council, Japan and India, along with Germany and Brazil, formed a "Group of Four" to push this cause, though their initiative never saw the light of day.


The Japan-India economic relationship is also growing stronger, albeit at a gradual pace. Japan is India's 10th largest trading partner, and India is Japan's 27th largest trading partner. Since Japan and India are Asia's first and third largest economies, respectively, there is plenty of room for expanded economic cooperation.


The two leaders issued a joint declaration that touched on infrastructure projects in India, the progress of negotiations on an Economic Partnership Agreement, and cooperation on climate change. A joint statement on security cooperation was also issued.


Japan-India security cooperation will consist of exchanging information on the Asia-Pacific region, working together within the multilateral framework of East Asian summit meetings, and engaging in a dialogue on defense issues. India is only the third country with which Japan has entered into a cooperative security agreement. The others are the U.S. and Australia. While the agreement merely puts down on paper what has already been achieved in reality, there will be a need to pay close attention to how this arrangement is handled in order to avoid needlessly provoking China.


When Prime Minister Singh conveyed his hope to cooperate with Japan in the future on nuclear power for civilian purposes, Prime Minister Aso replied, "We urge you to adhere to promises and proper behavior with regard to the nuclear testing moratorium. Various factors need to be given consideration."


India, which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), has been granted a special exemption in order to receive nuclear fuel and technology under the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation pact. But this arrangement will gut the NPT framework and reverse the progress of international nuclear disarmament efforts. There is also concern that it will have a negative impact on the six-party talks being held to urge North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. It is only to be expected that Prime Minister Aso avoided discussing details of nuclear cooperation during his meeting with his Indian counterpart.


The joint Japan-India statement on defense did include language on disarmament and nonproliferation, however, Japan should continue to pressure India to renounce nuclear testing.


毎日新聞 20081023日 010


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