Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will be on a two-day India visit starting Monday morning that will focus on strengthening the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between the two countries.
Kishida’s itinerary includes crucial talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, delivering the 41st Sapru House Lecture on Indo-Pacific, and visiting the Bodhi Tree at Delhi’s Buddha Jayanti Park. He is expected to lay out his vision of the Indo-Pacific during his lecture.
The 81-acre Buddha Jayanti Park, located in Delhi’s central ridge, is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.
The Bodhi Tree is of significant importance, as it is a sapling from the Holy Bodhi Tree, under which the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. It was gifted by the then-prime minister of Sri Lanka Sirimavo Bandarnaike, and planted by India’s then-prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964.
The sapling of the Bodhi Tree in Sri Lanka was planted in 288 BC by King Asoka’s daughter Sanghamitra. She had taken a branch of the original tree in Bodh Gaya with her to Sri Lanka where it is growing to this day, while the original tree, which was in Bihar, decayed.
India and Japan share a Special Strategic and Global Partnership, which has been elevated over the years to signify the growing importance of the relationship. Annual Summits and 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meetings are held between the two countries to discuss various areas of cooperation, including defence and security, trade and investment, S&T, education, healthcare, and critical and emerging technologies.
Defence and security cooperation between India and Japan have been growing. Recent milestones in this area include the successful conduct of the first fighter jet exercise “Veer Guardian” in January 2023, and the 4th “Dharma Guardian” army exercise, which was conducted for the first time in Japan. Maritime security cooperation and Navy-to-Navy cooperation have also seen significant progress, with several joint exercises conducted between the two countries.
Japan is a significant investor in India, and the two countries have set up Japan Industrial Townships (JITs) to promote economic partnership, investment, industry, and infrastructure development.
The two countries also have a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that covers various areas, including trade in goods and services, movement of natural persons, investments, and intellectual property rights.
Skill development and movement of skilled workers from India to Japan is an area where complementarities between the two economies exist. Several Memorandums of Cooperation have been signed between India and Japan to facilitate the same.
Kishida’s visit comes at a time when India and Japan are holding important discussions on a range of issues, including the rapidly changing geopolitical landscape in the Indo-Pacific region.