Tokyo, Mar 29 (PTI) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today held “very productive” talks with her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono during which the two leaders discussed a wide-range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. Also Read - Yoshihide Suga Elected Japan’s New Prime Minister Succeeding Shinzo Abe, PM Modi Congratulates Him

Swaraj, who is here on a three-day visit — her first to Japan in the capacity of External Affairs Minister — reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral ties during the 9th India-Japan Strategic Dialogue. Also Read - Japan PM Shinzo Abe, His Cabinet to Resign Today Paving Way For New Leadership

“Foreign Minister Kono and I had very productive talks, covering a wide-range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest,” Swaraj said. Also Read - Monsoon Session Day 2: Lok Sabha Passes Essential Commodities Bill to Raise Farmer Income, Boost Agri Sector | Highlights

Asserting that India regards Japan as a “natural partner”, she said there is vast scope to combine “our relative advantages, whether of capital, technology or human resources, and to work for mutual benefit.” “Japan’s presence is visible in major infrastructure and capacity-building projects across India. Our flagship initiatives such as Smart City, Digital India, Start Up India and many others welcome Japan’s entrepreneurs with new opportunities. We are happy to note that Japanese investments in India, both public and private, are on the rise,” she added.

Swaraj said the two sides had very productive discussions on how India and Japan are today working closely to build robust ties in High Speed Rail, Information and Communications Technology, Innovation, Space Science, Healthcare and Food Processing, to name just a few.

“We also exchanged views on some new areas of focus in our engagement, such as skills development, Japanese language training in India and the possibility of Indian professionals working in Japan under the Technical Intern Training Programme,” she added.

Swaraj also said that there should be a “zero tolerance” on terrorism.

“We shared the view that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is a global scourge that requires global action in the spirit of zero tolerance, including by rooting out terrorist safe havens, disrupting terrorist networks and financing channels and halting cross-border movement of terrorists,” she said.

Swaraj will call on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tomorrow.

Bilateral relations between India and Japan have expanded rapidly in recent years. This is reflected in the number of high-level visits exchanged and the several official dialogue mechanisms that are in place, the minister said.

“The Special Strategic and Global Partnership between our two countries that was established during Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi’s landmark visit to Japan in 2014, has been constantly strengthened through our mutual efforts. There is optimism on both sides about the potential of our future ties.

“India and Japan have shared values, with a long history of friendly exchanges. Buddhism unites us. We are both democracies. We value openness, transparency, rule of law and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she said.

“Our Special Strategic and Global Partnership has acquired a broader significance in the current global context. Our growing convergence on economic and strategic issues is important for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” Swaraj said.

The discussions have laid a sound foundation for the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Japan for the next bilateral Annual Summit later this year, Swaraj said.

According to official figures, Japanese FDI in India during 2016-17 was USD 4.7 billion, an increase of 80 per cent over the last year.

In 2016-17, India-Japan trade reached USD 13.61 billion, showing a decrease of 6.21 per cent over 2015-16, when the total bilateral trade was USD 14.51 billion.

India’s export to Japan for 2016-17 was USD 3.86 billion, whereas India’s import from the East Asian country for 2016-17 was USD 9.76 billion.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.