India, Japan reviews the situation in the Indo-Pacific; we decided to increase cooperation in third countries

BANGKOK: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe On Monday, he reviewed the evolving security scenario in the Indo-Pacific and agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in third countries for peace, prosperity and development in the region.

The two leaders held a meeting outside here during which China's rapidly expanding military and economic expansionism in the Indo-Pacific region ranked prominently among several other key issues, authorities said.

Without giving specific details of the talks, the foreign affairs ministry said the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region based on a rule-based order.

They agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation, even in third countries, to achieve the shared goal of peace, prosperity and progress of the Indo-Pacific region, it said in a statement.

Modi and Abe's resolution to work towards a stable Indo-Pacific came about amid growing concerns among several ASEAN member countries of 10 nations about China's growing assertiveness on the maritime boundaries in the region.

The ministry said the two leaders also deliberated on Indo-Japan's first ministerial defense and foreign affairs dialogue 'two plus two' at the end of this month in India, and said it will help boost security cooperation and defense between the two parties.

Modi said he looked forward to welcoming the Japanese Prime Minister in India next month for the annual India-Japan summit.

In a tweet, Foreign Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said Modi and Abe set the stage for the two plus two dialogue between India and Japan and the annual summit in their good discussion.

Modi also said he was convinced of the success of the next annual summit to further deepen the India-Japan special strategic and global partnership, according to the MEA.

It was the third meeting between Modi and Abe in the last four months. His previous meeting was in Vladivostok in Russia in September.

The leaders welcomed the growing economic commitment between the two countries, driven by high-level exchanges. Leaders also reviewed the progress and reaffirmed their commitment to move forward in mutual efforts to facilitate the smooth implementation of the project, the MEA said.

He said Modi also congratulated his counterpart on the recent coronation of Japanese Emperor Naruhito, while Abe warmly recalled the president's participation in the ceremony.