I am delighted to be in Japan.

After assuming the office of Prime Minister, I had taken a decision that my first bilateral visit outside South Asia would be to Japan. It is my great fortune that Prime Minister Abe gave me the opportunity to fulfil my desire within 100 days of assuming office.

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This is a reflection of the fact that India considers Japan among its closest and most reliable partners and that India's relations with Japan is of the highest priority for my Government. This is not only because Japan is a vital partner for India's transformation, but also because India and Japan as two peace-loving and democratic nations can play an influential role in shaping the future of Asia and the world.

I am deeply grateful to Prime Minister Abe, an old friend, for his extraordinary hospitality and warmth both in Kyoto and Tokyo. His special gestures are a reflection of his special love for India and his belief and confidence in India and our bilateral relations. I greatly value his friendship. I am also touched by the warmth and enthusiasm that I have experienced in meeting a wide cross section of people here. I am excited about the boundless possibilities for our cooperation.

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I am not only greatly satisfied with my discussions with Prime Minister Abe, but the meeting has greatly increased my confidence, excitement and optimism about India-Japan relations.

Prime Minister Abe has spoken about our discussions. You also have the joint statement and the fact sheet with you. I want to speak to you more about how I view this relationship and this summit.

Today we have taken an important decision to elevate the relationship from Strategic and Global Partnership to a Special Strategic and Global Partnership.

This is not just a play of words, but a decision that reflects the solemn responsibilities of our two governments and two countries.

It is a strategic partnership because:

- Japan will play an increasingly important role in India's economic transformation and development. Today, Prime Minister Abe has pledged a qualitatively new level of Japanese support and partnership for India's inclusive development, including transformation of India's manufacturing and infrastructure sectors. Today, he has announced his intention to realise 3.5 trillion Yens, or USD 35 billion, or Rs. 2,10,000 crores, of public and private investment and financing to India over the next five years. I am deeply grateful to him and the people of Japan. He has expressed strong support for my vision of India's development and has committed support in all areas of development.

- India's progress and development is not only a big economic opportunity that will benefit both countries, but it will be strengthen democracy globally and contribute to stability and prosperity in our region and the world.

- Second, our relations are not confined to economic cooperation, but it is comprehensive and broad-based. We have agreed today to intensify our political dialogue and cooperation. We intend to give a new thrust and direction to our defence cooperation, including collaboration in defence technology and equipment, given our shared interest in peace and stability and maritime security. We have also decided to expand our cooperation in advanced technology, science and technology, people-to-people exchanges, educational exchanges, etc.

- A successful India and a successful Japan will be of benefit to both countries. Even more, the relationship will be a force of peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the world.

It is global because:

- We are the two oldest democracies in Asia and among its three biggest economies. Our relationship is not only regional in its framework, but will have a global impact. This is because if the 21st century is an Asian century, then Asia's future direction will shape the destiny of the world.

- India and Japan will work for a peaceful and prosperous world drawing upon the message of Lord Buddha and in partnership with all countries of this region and beyond.

- We are also intensifying cooperation on non-proliferation, UN reforms, space security, cyber security and in regional forums of this region, such as East Asia Summit.

- Equally important, we will forge a partnership for development in other regions and interested countries across the world.

The relationship is special because:

- The importance and priority that we will both give this relationship will see a qualitative increase.

- We will work with a much higher level of commitment to translate our boundless potential into concrete progress. For example, I will introduce special mechanisms like Japan Fast Track Channel for Japanese investors in India. Our mutual confidence is at a new level. In recent months, we have made significant progress in our negotiations on civil nuclear cooperation. Today, we have discussed this issue at length. We have reached better understanding of each other’s positions through this discussion. We have agreed to instruct our negotiators to work expeditiously to conclude the negotiations at an early date so that we can further strengthen our strategic partnership.

- Japan's decision to remove several Indian entities from the Foreign End Users List, our MoU on defence exchanges and our intention to work out an agreement for collaboration on defence technologies reflect the new level of mutual trust and commitment to deepen our strategic partnership in all dimensions.

- Today’s agreements – in health, roads, clean energy and women’s development and the Kyoto-Varanasi partnership agreement – also demonstrate the diversity and depth of our relationship and its human dimension.

- It also recognises the ancient foundations of our modern partnership, the long history of cultural links and the unwavering goodwill and affection between our people. No relationship in India commands the level of public consensus as our relations with Japan does.

In conclusion, I would like to again thank Prime Minister Abe for his friendship and hospitality and for his bold vision for this relationship. I am confident that we may see the beginning of a new journey, which will draw strength from our past progress, and will move ahead with new confidence and energy. I am confident that we will harness the full potential of this relationship very soon.

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