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PM pitches for closer security, defence ties with Japan

PM pitches for closer security, defence ties with Japan

Tokyo: Warning against "continuing threats" in the Indo-Pacific region, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said India sees Japan as a "natural and indispensable partner" in its quest for stability and peace in Asia that is washed by the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The Prime Minister also underlined the need for maritime security across the linked regions of the Indian and Pacific Oceans for regional and global prosperity.

He stressed that maritime issues should be dealt according to the international law.

"Our defence and security dialogue, military exercises and defence technology collaboration should grow. We should consult and coordinate more closely in global and regional forums," Singh, who is here on a three-day visit said.

Unveiling a three-pronged strategy on the eve of his Summit meeting with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, Singh said regional mechanisms should be strengthened to manage differences and reinforce congruence.

"There should be deeper regional economic integration and principles of freedom of navigation and unimpeded lawful commerce in accordance with international law should be upheld to resolve maritime issues peacefully," he said.

The remarks came amidst flexing of muscles by China in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

He said both countries should work together more purposefully to harness the potential of the seas and address common sea-based challenges such as piracy.

Addressing the Japan-India Association, Japan-India Parliamentary Friendship League and the International Friendship Exchange Council here, Singh said the Indo-Pacific region was witnessing profound social and economic changes on a scale and at a speed rarely seen in human history.

The region has experienced an unprecedented rise in freedom, opportunity and prosperity over the last half century.

He said at the same time, the region faces "multiple challenges, unresolved issues and unsettled questions".

He said historical differences persist despite growing inter-dependence.

"Prosperity has not fully eliminated disparities within and betweens states and there are growing threats to stability and security," he said.

The Prime Minister stressed that in this moment of flux and change, there was a greatest opportunity to chart a new course for Asia in this century.

Noting that India and Japan are among the major actors in this region, he said, "It is our responsibility to foster a climate of peace, stability and cooperation and to lay an enduring foundation for security and prosperity".

"India's relations with Japan are important not only for our economic development, but also because we see Japan as a natural and indispensable partner in our quest for stability and peace in the vast region in Asia that is washed by the Pacific and Indian Oceans," he said.

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