Japan, India leaders agree to step up defense, economic ties

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that there is a need to work unitedly to address issues such as terrorism, climate change, economic development to social justice through universal cooperation and co-ordination.

The two-day summit beginning Sunday will seek to review the progress in ties and deepen strategic dimension of the bilateral relationship.

PM Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe came to Tokyo in a train on Sunday after spending eight hours together in the picturesque Yamanashi prefecture, where they held informal talks and visited a factory. This is the 12th meeting between the two leaders in the last four years.

Relations with China are a major issue shared by Modi and Abe, as their cooperation might balance China's growing regional influence and military assertiveness.

He also interacted with top business leaders from the two countries at a forum here and asked Japanese businessmen to engage more with India.

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"The India-Japan partnership has been fundamentally transformed and it has been strengthened as a special strategic and global partnership", Modi told Kyodo news agency.

"India is going through a massive transformative phase today".

Before hosting Modi at his villa, Abe took the Indian PM on a tour of the robotics and automation facilities at the FANUC Corporation in Yamanashi, which is one of the largest makers of industrial robots in the world.

"Japan is also at the forefront of engaging in our national initiatives, such as "Make in India", "Skill India", "Digital India", "Start Up India".

On Sunday, PM Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks over lunch and a private dinner at the latter's holiday home. "Japanese investors have faith in India's economic future, which is marked with myriad opportunities", Modi said.

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Strengthening bilateral security and economic cooperation was key on the agenda for the formal summit on Monday.

Although a proposed "quad" regional defense initiative between democracies Australia, India, Japan and the United State seems stuck in stasis, Japan and India sit on the eastern and western flanks of an expansive China, and are upping defense cooperation. "My best wishes are with you", PM Modi said, ahead of the commencement of the Diwali festivities back in India.

In a message published in Indian newspapers on the day of the two leaders' summit meeting in Japan, Abe said India was driving the region and the world's prosperity as a global power.

Till now, the 2+2 dialogue between India and Japan was held at the vice-ministerial level.

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