India and Japan on Thursday held their annual summit in a unique fashion over the telephone as Delhi and Tokyo concluded the much anticipated Mutual Logistic Pact for their Navies to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region amid China’s aggressive policies.
This was outgoing Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s first summit talk since he decided to step down last month over health reasons. But both sides decided to go ahead with the leadership level dialogue as scheduled on September 10. ET was the first to report that Modi and Abe to hold summit dialogue notwithstanding resignation tendered by the latter.
“With regard to the significant enhancement of Japan-India relations in recent years, Prime Minister Abe stated that both Prime Ministers took actions towards realizing the vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific and the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between Japan and India was elevated to greater heights, “ according to a readout issued by the Japanese government following the conversation.
“In this context, both Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India Concerning Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Indian Armed Forces (so-called "Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement", or ACSA) on September 9.”
Japanese envoy to India Satoshi Suzuki who signed the pact tweeted, "Great pleasure to sign the agreement concerning reciprocal provision of supplies and services between ＃JSDF and the ＃IndianArmedForces. Hope the agreement will further promote cooperation between them."
The timing of the pact is significant as it comes amid tensions with China along LAC and Beijing’s aggressive behaviour across the Indo-Pacific region. This agreement will facilitate the smooth provision of supplies and services between the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Indian Armed Forces. It will also promote closer cooperation between the forces on the ground, thereby contributing further to global peace and security.
The ACSA (commonly referred to as Mutual Logistics Services Pact) would permit the Indian Navy access to a Japanese base in Djibouti. The Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JSDF) would be permitted to use India’s military installations in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, ET has reliably gathered. India currently has similar pacts with the US, Australia, France and is likely to sign one with Russia later this year.
During the conversation Abe explained that he would resign from his position as Prime Minister. He also noted the memories from their mutual annual visits, according to the readout. Modi responded by expressing his appreciation to all the efforts extended by Prime Minister Abe and by recalling the time they spent together, according to the readout.
Both Prime Ministers affirmed that the basic policy of Japan-India-emphasis remains unchanged, and concurred with each other that the two countries continue to work closely in such areas as security, economy, and economic cooperation including the high-speed rail project dismissing all speculations about that project in Western India.
Abe has been a pillar of strength for India’s Look East and Act East policy – a leader who developed strong ties with former PM Manmohan Singh as well as PM Narendra Modi. Abe became the first Japanese prime minister to attend India’s Republic Day parade as the chief guest in 2014. The partnership blossomed based on a strong chemistry between Abe and Modi and the Indian PM once hosted him in Ahmedabad and gave him a rousing reception.
It was Abe who proposed Indo-Pacific construct and partnership across the region based on confluence of two seas (during his 2007 speech in Indian Parliament) and ushered in the Asia Africa Growth Corridor with India as a key partner amid Beijing’s BRI and Maritime Silk Route initiatives. Modi and Abe introduced steps to upgrade strategic partnership to the next level, a remarkable achievement for a Pacifist nation. The Quadrilateral format was revived and Japan re-joined Malabar naval exercise with India and USA.