India and Japan will begin a new Indo-Pacific dialogue in order to build on existing bilateral public-private consultation frameworks and advance cooperation on maritime security.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj agreed on this during their talks here on Thursday.
"Japan has contributed to India's nation building for many decades as a development partner...we will continue to actively support regional development, including by strengthening connectivity in the Indo-Pacific region," the Japanese Kyodo news agency quoted Kono as saying after they oversaw the signing of notes on Japan pledging loans up to 150 billion yen for infrastructure projects after the ninth round of a bilateral strategic dialogue in Tokyo.
"A consensus between Japan and India on the economic front is important for the peace, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region," said Swaraj.
Japanese officials said the two ministers at a subsequent working dinner agreed to further advance bilateral cooperation on maritime security.
The officials said the ministers affirmed the importance of maintaining maximum pressure on North Korea to compel it to completely, verifiably and irreversibly abandon its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.
Japan and India have strengthened their bilateral economic and security ties in recent years, amid China's growing regional influence and its rising assertiveness in the South and East China seas, and the Indian Ocean.
In 2014 at a summit in Japan between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe, the two countries elevated their bilateral ties to a "Special Strategic and Global Partnership".
Swaraj said the Special Strategic and Global Partnership had acquired a broader significance in the current global context.
She said her discussions had laid a sound foundation for the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Japan for the next bilateral Annual Summit later this year. "That visit, I am confident, will give renewed thrust to our Special Strategic and Global Partnership."
On Friday, Swaraj met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the two leaders discussed ways to strengthen the bilateral ties. During the meeting, Abe said Japan and India ties have "heart-to-heart" bonds and blessed with a huge potential for growth.
"PM Abe said that India-Japan traditional friendship is characterised by heart-to-heart bonds and blessed with a huge potential for growth," tweeted External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.