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Prime Minister's Banquet Speech during the visit of Prime Minister of Japan to India

January 25, 2014

Your Excellency, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,
Mrs. Abe,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a particular privilege for me this evening to welcome back in India our very distinguished guests, Prime Minister Abe and Mrs. Abe. Your Excellency, much has changed in India since your last visit as Prime Minister in 2007, but the fund of goodwill and admiration for you and the people of Japan have remained unchanged. Indeed, the warmth in our relationship was richly manifest in the historic and hugely popular visit of Their Imperial Majesties to India late last year.

Your Excellency, your own visit today is special because of the honour you have done us by joining us as we prepare to celebrate our 65th Republic Day. Your presence as the Chief Guest for these celebrations tomorrow is also a celebration of six decades of India-Japan friendship and a solemn reaffirmation of our strategic partnership.

This is a partnership defined by mutual respect. It is founded on shared values. And it is increasingly driven by expanding cooperation.

Culture and religion have linked us for centuries. Trade and technology are now laying a sound basis for our relations to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world. Given the turbulence that defines our age, it is my firm belief that our partnership is essential for peace, prosperity and stability in the Asian, Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.

Central to this vision, Mr. Prime Minister, is your own love for India and your conviction in the potential and significance of our relationship for the 21st century. Speaking about the confluence of the seas in our Parliament in 2007, you echoed our shared belief that our destinies are intertwined and our partnership is indispensable to the future of our two countries. As a leader and as Prime Minister, you have worked boldly and purposefully to give shape that vision.

Mr. Prime Minister, Japan is intrinsic to India’s thoughts for the future and is at the heart of our Look East Policy. In India, there is complete consensus on our relationship with Japan. As our two countries have engaged more with each other, this belief has only grown in intensity and certitude.

For me, personally, everything I have experienced in the past ten years has reinforced my faith in the enduring value of the partnership between Asia’s two oldest democracies and two of its biggest economies. Anchored in our shared values and interests, the partnership between a strong and economically resurgent Japan and a transforming and rapidly growing India can be an effective force of good for the region and the world.

It is to fulfill this responsibility that we have begun crafting a new global and strategic partnership for the new century. Our dialogue has intensified and is marked by the candour and confidence that are the hallmark of real friendship. We are working together on promoting maritime security and advancing our energy security. Together, and with other countries in the region and beyond, we seek an open, balanced, inclusive and rule-based regional architecture that fosters regional peace, stability and prosperity.

Bilaterally too, we are adding new content to our relations by expanding defence cooperation and engaging on civil nuclear cooperation. Japan has always been generous with its Overseas Development Assistance to India and is a privileged partner in India’s most ambitious infrastructure projects. We are determined to harness fully the extraordinary potential in our economic and commercial partnership.

Your Excellency, as I reflect on the symbolism of your visit and the richness of our discussions today, your leadership in this relationship and all that our two countries have built together in the past decade, I know that the best lies ahead of us.

With those words, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I request you to join me in a toast to: the health and well-being of His Excellency the Prime Minister of Japan and Mrs. Abe; the continued prosperity and progress of the friendly people of Japan; and an expanded and enhanced India – Japan Strategic and Global Partnership.

New Delhi
January 25, 2014


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