New Delhi, 19/03/2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a Meeting at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday, March 19, 2022.
New Delhi, 19/03/2022. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a Meeting at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday, March 19, 2022. | Photo Credit: MOORTHY RV

In a significant push to bilateral economic ties, Japan on Saturday announced plans to invest as much as ₹3.2-lakh crore (¥5 trillion) over the next five years, which follows the investment promotion partnership of 2014.

This was announced after the delegation level talks —led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida — at the 14th Annual India-Japan Summit. 

Clean energy partnership

India and Japan inked six agreements following talks between Prime Minister Modi and his Japanese counterpart. Both countries also announced launch of a clean energy partnership for cooperation in areas of electric vehicles, storage systems including batteries, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, development of solar energy and hydrogen etc.

Japan also on Saturday announced a sustainable development initiative for the northeastern region.

Japan’s investment commitment of ₹3.2-lakh crore comes at a time when global geopolitics is undergoing a change and reflects that both the countries are looking at each other for prosperity and post Covid-19 economic recovery. 

It also comes after the two countries have achieved the target of ¥3.5 trillion to be invested by Japan in 2014-19 in public and private investments in India. It maybe recalled that this investment commitment was announced by PM Modi and former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in 2014 under the investment promotion partnership.

Speaking after the 14th India-Japan Summit held at Hyderabad House in the Capital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that deepening India-Japan partnership will encourage peace, prosperity and stability in Indo-Pacific region and also at global level. Modi also said that India and Japan understand the importance of a secure, trusted, predictable and stable energy supply.

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida said: “We discussed situation in Ukraine; Russian attack is a serious matter as it has shaken international norms”. He said that unilateral attempts to change status quo using force should not be allowed. Kishida said that India and Japan should keep working together for an open and free Indo-Pacific.

Both leaders also addressed a special session on India-Japan Economic Forum,  giving direction to the post-Covid economic recovery. Seven loan agreements (ODA) worth ₹22,000 crore was also signed for 2022.

Suzuki’s investment

During the India-Economic Forum, Suzuki group’s planned additional investment of ₹10,400 crore in a new EV unit and battery making facility in its Gujarat unit (Maruti Suzuki) was also announced. This investment is expected to support India’s transition to its green mobility goals. Under the scrappage policy, an agreement between the Gujarat government and Maruti Suzuki was signed on the occasion. Till date, Suzuki has invested ₹16,000 crore in Gujarat and created capacity to manufacture 7.5 lakh automobiles a year.

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida, who arrived on Saturday evening in New Delhi accompanied by a high level delegation, will leave New Delhi on Sunday morning.

This is PM Kishida’s first bilateral foreign visit after assuming office in October 4, 2021  (he visited Glasgow for CoP26).  It is also his first visit to India as Prime Minister. Kishida had visited India when he was the foreign minister. This is also the first incoming visit at the level of Head of State/ Head of Government to India this year.

PM Kishida’s short visit to India on Saturday had a lot of focus on economic partnership post Covid-19,  taking forward the ambitious economic ties roadmap set by his predecessors. The 14th India -Japan Annual Summit took place three and half years since the last summit held in Japan in 2018.

The annual India-Japan Summit between PM Modi and his then Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe was cancelled in December 2019 in Guwahati in the wake of massive protests over the amended citizenship law. The annual summit could not be held in both 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.