Joining RCEP against the interest of India, Modi tells the ministers of Japan

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi described India's concerns about the Regional Integral Economic Association (RCEP) in a meeting with Japanese Foreign and Defense Ministers, Toshimitsu Motegi and Taro Kono, reiterating that joining the free pact Trade in its current form would be detrimental to the interests of Delhi. .

Japanese officials said Sunday that Tokyo was working with other RCEP countries to address the issues raised by India. After the first 2 + 2 dialogue between the two countries, Japan said it remained committed to improving connectivity as part of its Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, not only outside India but also in India, even in the northeast.

However, in Arunachal Pradesh, Japan said it was moving carefully due to the current state of the state. While there was no detailed discussion about Kashmir in the 2 + 2 talks, Japan said it was analyzing the situation carefully and wanted the differences between India and Pakistan to be resolved through talks.

Motegi and Kono had called Modi before the 2 + 2 dialogue and the next annual summit meeting of Modi and his counterpart Shinzo Abe. Both referred to the joint RCEP statement that said India had pending problems and that all participating countries will work together to resolve these pending problems in a mutually satisfactory manner.

RCEP was touched briefly (in the meeting with the Prime Minister). The Prime Minister expressed the position of India and we explain our position, which is reflected in the joint declaration of leaders at the RCEP leaders summit. The summary of the statement ... we noticed that it was that the 15 participants will work together. I do not want to join in any speculation, but I believe that all RCEP countries are working to address the issues raised by India, said Japanese Foreign Ministry press secretary Atsushi Kaifu, who accompanied Motegi to India, said.

Japan sees free trade as one of the pillars of its Indo-Pacific Free and Open Strategy and is interested in India joining RCEP. The official stressed Japan's commitment to work with India for regional peace and prosperity by improving connectivity. When asked about Japan's role in infrastructure development in the northeast, Kaifu said that connectivity within India was equally important and that the northeast was an area of ​​focus.

“Both parties are interested in improving connectivity, even in the northeast. But due to the current state of that area, we are discussing the problems (involving infrastructure) very carefully, ”said the official. I was answering a question about whether India and Japan would work together in Arunachal Pradesh, which is claimed by China.

On the bilateral defense logistics pact or the Acquisition and Cross-Service Agreement that the two countries are negotiating, the official said that the countries were trying to finalize some issues related to the agreement as soon as possible and expressed the hope that the negotiations will conclude soon.

When asked about Kashmir, Kaifu said that Japan was aware of the long-standing differences between India and Pakistan and wanted them to be resolved through dialogue.