His Excellency Mr Fumio Kishida, Honourable Prime Minister of Japan
Dr S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of India
Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatr
Ambassador Hiroshi SUZUKI,
Ambassador Sibi George
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
As India’s oldest think tank on foreign policy and international relations, it is a privilege for the Indian Council of World Affairs to host the Prime Minister of Japan, His Excellency Mr Fumio Kishida for the 41st Sapru House Lecture. I warmly welcome His Excellency.
This is the second time, in the past decade, that ICWA has had the honour to host His Excellency Mr Fumio Kishida. In January 2015, as the Foreign Minister of Japan he delivered the 15th Sapru House Lecture on India-Japan “Special Partnership for the Era of the Indo-Pacific”.
Since then, our “Special, Strategic and Global Partnership” has matured under the guidance of the Prime Ministers of our two countries. Today, the relationship is one of trust and collaboration in a wide range of areas extending from political engagement, defence, security and economic co-operation to science and technology, education and culture, and people to people exchanges. India- Japan partnership has also greatly progressed, in the context of the Indo-Pacific region that holds great economic and strategic importance.
For India, the Indo-Pacific region as stated by Prime Minister Modi, extending from the shores of Africa to that of the Americas is a free, open, and inclusive region, which should embrace all in a common objective of progress and prosperity, with ASEAN centrality and unity being important. Prime Minister Modi announced the Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative with its seven pillars, to work collaboratively with other countries in pursuit of a safe, secure and rule based maritime domain. Japan is India’s lead partner in the connectivity pillar of IPOI. Our partnership in the region also extends to working together within the Quad and through trilateral arrangements in the region - like the Resilient Supply Chain Initiative.
The synergising of Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy (FOIP) and India’s Act East Policy and the Indo-Pacific vision, has played a crucial role in bringing the two countries, closer than ever.
In the past three years since 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic and geo-political developments have resulted in global shocks that have caused widespread disruption, economic instability, and significant loss of life. The current geopolitical landscape is witnessing heightened strategic uncertainty.
The visit of Prime Minister Kishida comes at an opportune time. With Japan as the Chair of the G7, and India as the Chair of the G20 for this year, the two countries have a pivotal role to play amidst the increasing global complexities. India’s Presidency of G-20, with the theme Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam -‘One Earth One Family and One Future’, will also seek to bring attention to the issues of the Global South. Moreover, as members of G-4, India and Japan have a common interest in reformed multilateralism so that the UN bodies including the UN Security Council is updated to reflect contemporary global realities.
Strong ties between India and Japan have benefitted not only our two countries but contributed positively to the wider Indo-Pacific region and the global agenda.
With these words, may I now invite His Excellency Mr Fumio Kishida, Honourable Prime Minister of Japan to deliver the 41st Sapru House Lecture.
Please welcome Prime Minister Kishida