Japanese government and business leaders yesterday promised support for visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effort to modernize his country’s economy.
Modi is visiting Japan with a delegation of more than a dozen Indian tycoons, seeking to take still relatively low-key ties between the countries to a “new level.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took the rare step of traveling to Kyoto over the weekend to host and dine with Modi. The two leaders, who have exchanged affectionate greetings via Twitter, were shown in a bear hug.
India is keen to gain more support for ambitious energy and construction projects, including high-speed railways. In a speech to Japanese business leaders, Modi promised to set up a team to facilitate such efforts and streamline the bureaucracy that has slowed progress in the past.
Since taking office three months ago, Modi has traveled to Nepal and Bhutan and attended a summit of BRICS emerging nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. He helped launch an effort to open bank accounts for poor people in India and has set up an investigative team to look into corruption.
Meanwhile, the Indian economy has picked up pace in what some analysts are calling the “Modi bounce.”
“When I became prime minister, there were high expectations. Not just high expectations, but people expected speed in decisions,” Modi told leaders of Japan’s five big business groups. “I give you the assurance that what we have done in the past 100 days, the results will be seen very quickly.”
In a gesture toward his golf-loving Japanese hosts — Abe golfs frequently — Modi boasted of having beefed up the links in Gujarat, where he was chief minister for years before becoming prime minister in May.
“I felt that as a government, to facilitate Japanese visitors to the state, among other things we developed golf courses,” he said, drawing enthusiastic applause.
Japan and India are also beefing up cooperation on security, with an eye toward China’s growing assertiveness in the region.
Earlier in the day, Modi paid a visit to a Japanese kindergarten and reiterated his desire to incorporate Japanese educational techniques in India’s schools.
Japanese businesses are increasingly looking to expand trade and investment in fast-growing Southeast Asia and India.
“We are quite confident that under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, the Japan-India relationship will develop to levels that properly reflect the economic standing of the two nations,” Akio Mimura, head of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in a toast to Modi after his speech.
Nippon Life Insurance Co, the world’s largest life insurer, announced plans yesterday to launch several investment funds with its Indian partner Reliance Group, pledging to expand their collaboration.
Apart from equity and bond funds, the two companies said they would participate in India’s “financial inclusion” program, aimed at expanding services to individuals and small businesses in India, where half the 1.2 billion people do not have bank accounts.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big