'Furthering friendship': PM Modi meets Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga ahead of Quad summit

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga had a "fruitful meeting" in Washington and the two leaders discussed ways to boost trade and cultural ties and further cement the bilateral strategic relations ahead of the first in-person Quad meeting to be hosted by US President Joe Biden.

"Furthering friendship with Japan," the Prime Minister's office said in a tweet after the meeting on Thursday.

"Prime Ministers @narendramodi and @sugawitter had a fruitful meeting in Washington DC. Both leaders held discussions on several issues including ways to give further impetus to trade and cultural ties," the tweet further said.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that Modi specifically thanked Suga for successfully hosting Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in midst of global pandemic. The two leaders also exchanged views on recent developments including the situation unfolding in Afghanistan.

Modi and Suga reaffirmed their commitment towards a free and open inclusive Indo-Pacific region. They agreed to enhance bilateral security and defence cooperation including the areas of defence equipment and technologies, Shringla said.

Modi and Suga spoke in April this year and the two leaders underscored the importance of working together to create resilient, diversified and trustworthy supply chains, ensuring a reliable supply of critical materials and technologies, and developing new partnerships in manufacturing and skill development to deal with the crisis.

On his phone call with Modi in April, the Japanese leader had tweeted "we confirmed that we will work in close collaboration to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and had fruitful discussions on regional issues and Japan-India cooperation in order to realise a Free and Open Indo-Pacific."

They also highlighted the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) project as a shining example of their cooperation and welcomed the steady progress in its execution.

Suga had called off a scheduled visit to India in April end in view of the coronavirus situation.

Speaking after virtually inaugurating a Japanese Zen garden and Kaizen Academy set up at the premises of the Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) in June, Modi had described Suga as a very straightforward person.

"Prime Minister Suga and I believe that during the time of this COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the Indo-Japanese friendship and our partnership have become even more relevant for global stability and prosperity. Today, when we are facing several global challenges, it is the need of the hour that our friendship and relationship get stronger day by day," Modi had said.

He said efforts like setting up the Kaizen Academy are a beautiful reflection of this relationship.

Modi said the launch of the Zen garden and Kaizen Academy is a "symbol of the spontaneity and modernity of India-Japan relations".

With inputs from PTI

Also See: 'Landed in Washington DC': Narendra Modi arrives in US to attend Quad summit, address UNGA

Japan extends coronavirus emergency in Tokyo, 18 other areas till end of September

Korean Peninsula on edge again as Pyongyang, Seoul test missiles hours apart from each other

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