Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida said he raised the issue of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine during his meeting with Indian counterpart Narendra Modi – who stopped short of mentioning the war in his own remarks. Kishida, who began a two-day visit to India on Monday, has an expansive new plan set out for an open and free Indo-Pacific region. This includes cooperation between the two Quad partners as witnessed in Tokyo’s efforts to forge stronger partnerships with south Asian countries to counter China’s growing assertiveness.
The Japanese leader was expected to convince Delhi to forge a broader and stronger coalition to call out Russia for its invasion of Ukraine during his meeting with Modi and referred to his Indian counterpart’s earlier rebuke of Putin.
“I reiterate that Japan strongly condemns Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and will never recognise it,” Kishida said while delivering the 41st Sapru House lecture. “Prime minister Modi too expressed to president Putin that today is not the era of war. Japan opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo by force anywhere in the world.”
He delivered the lecture in the presence of a gathering of top diplomats, envoys and experts hours after he held bilateral talks with PM Modi for the strengthening of India and Japan’s “Special Strategic and Global Partnership”.
$75bn boost for free, open Indo-Pacific
Kishida reaffirmed commitment to a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Indo-Pacific with the latter calling India an indispensable partner and announcing $75 billion to bolster Japan’s free and open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) policy.
While he did not name China anywhere in his Indo-Pacific statement, Kishida referred to the Ukraine conflict seven times as he condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine saying Moscow’s aggression had “obliged’’ the world to face the most fundamental challenge of defending peace.
“The two leaders agreed they had a shared responsibility of maintaining and strengthening the international order, based of the rule of law,’’ said Noriyuki Shikata, Japan’s cabinet secretary for public affairs who accompanied Kishida.