Japan, India to increase cooperation against the pandemic

Tokyo, Apr 26 (EFE).- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, pledged Monday to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the face of the pandemic and also ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The two leaders had a telephone conversation after Suga canceled his plans to visit India in the coming weeks because of the coronavirus situation in Japan, with the government declaring a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other regions.

Suga and Modi expressed willingness to “work in closer cooperation towards containing the pandemic,” according to a statement by the Japanese foreign ministry, which did not elaborate further on the matter.

The Indian prime minister, on his part, thanked Suga for “providing assistance to India for combating the pandemic,” and invited him to visit the country as soon as the situation improved, the government at New Delhi said in a statement.

Suga and Modi also reaffirmed their commitment towards a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” strategy, promoted by Tokyo and Washington as a common front to contain China’s military and economic rise in the region, and within the framework of the so-called Quad, made up of Japan, the US, India and Australia.

In this regard, Suga underlined Japan’s “serious concerns about China’s continued and strengthened unilateral attempts” to change the status quo in the region.

In particular, the Japanese prime minister pointed to the a recently approved law by Beijing, allowing its coast guard to open fire on foreign vessels in waters claimed by China.

Both leaders also made a commitment for closer cooperation in areas such as cybersecurity, digitization, the fight against climate change, and the diversification of supply chains, according to statements by their respective governments. EFE


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