India & Japan working to launch joint projects in Russian Far-East: Harsh Vardhan Shringla

India and Japan are looking at deepening cooperation in third countries including in the Russian Far East region and the Pacific Island countries, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla stated on Tuesday. In an address at the India-Japan forum organised by leading public policy forum Ananta Aspen India, he said the growing convergence between the two countries on strategic and economic issues has the potential to shape a multi-polar world that is more peaceful, secure and sustainable.

Shringla said the evolving geopolitical situation, with the focus shifting decisively towards the Indo-Pacific region and a deeper understanding of the complementarities between the two countries, has further enhanced the partnership. “India and Japan are continuing to enhance their ability to work with other partners in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. We are looking at deepening our cooperation in third countries, moving beyond India’s immediate neighbourhood to the Russian Far East and the Pacific Island states,” he said. It may be recalled that India-Russia-Japan has launched a trilateral for partnership in the Indo-Pacific region including investments and joint projects in resource rich Russian Far-East.

Talking about people-to-people exchanges and partnership in the area of skill development, Shringla said that the time may have come for the two sides to consider a migration and mobility partnership agreement to facilitate the mobility of professionals and highly-skilled workers. The foreign secretary said that Japan’s participation as the lead partner in the “connectivity pillar” of the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is greatly welcomed and will provide significant impetus to it. Shringla said the progress in the economic pillar of India-Japan ties has been accompanied by an increasing convergence in the strategic outlook towards the region.

“This is reflected in our shared vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. This convergence is not only seen in bilateral exchanges but also in the increasing comfort in working with other like-minded partners through plurilateral forums, involving other partners,” he said. In addition, Quad consultations along with the US and Australia provide a platform for these four countries to explore ways to synergize their respective efforts towards the region,” he added. Referring to the coronavirus pandemic, he said it has not only generated severe economic stress but would have a long term impact on the geopolitical situation.

“While this period may be characterised by flux and a sense of heightened insecurity, the growing convergence of India and Japan on strategic and economic issues has the potential to shape a multi-polar world that is more peaceful, secure and sustainable,” Shringla said.