Japan, India officials discuss economic ties

Japan, India officials discuss economic ties

Japan, India officials discuss economic ties

Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna (L) shakes hands with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba at their meeting in New Delhi India yesterday. AFP photo

Japan’s foreign minister met Indian officials in New Delhi yesterday to discuss increased political, security and economic cooperation between the two nations.

Koichiro Gemba and Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna led wide-ranging annual bilateral talks called the India-Japan Strategic Dialogue.

They discussed Japanese assistance for infrastructure development projects in India and civil nuclear cooperation, Krishna told reporters.

“Japan and India are important partners,” AFP quoted Gemba saying. He added that they shared democratic values and strategic interests.

An Indian government statement said senior officials also met to discuss energy efficiency and conservation issues.

Later, the two sides were to hold their first regular ministerial-level economic dialogue. Gemba also planned to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

India has been the largest recipient of Japanese development aid for several years. Japanese involvement in Indian infrastructure development has been growing. According to India’s Commerce Ministry, trade between the two nations is likely to reach $25 billion by 2014. Bilateral trade totaled $13.8 billion in the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2011, up nearly $3.5 billion from a year earlier, according to the most recent available Indian data.

Cotton restrictions

Meanwhile, India yesterday ended recent restrictions on cotton exports, six weeks after partially reversing a ban it had imposed on overseas sales.

 India, the world’s second-largest producer of cotton, last month stopped all exports of the crop, saying it wanted to protect supplies for domestic mills.

After outrage from Indian cotton farmers, the government eased the ban just one week later but stipulated that no new export registrations would be made to limit shipments. Commerce and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma said yesterday the restrictions had now been waived.