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Japanese investment plans in NE may come up in Modi-Abe talks
Spl Correspondent
 NEW DELHI, Sept 12 - Although a detailed dialogue is yet to begin between India and Japan on Tokyo’s plans to invest in the northeastern region, the issue is likely to be firmed up during bilateral talks between the two countries, when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives in Ahmedabad tomorrow on a two-day visit.At the invitation of Modi, the Japanese premier will undertake an official visit to India on September 13-14 during which the two leaders will hold the 12th India-Japan Annual Summit in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

This will be the fourth annual summit between Modi and Abe. The two leaders will review the recent progress in the multifaceted cooperation between India and Japan under the framework of their ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ programme setting its future direction, Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar said.

Asked whether Japan’s investment proposal has been worked out, Joint Secretary (East Asia) Pranay Verma told newsmen that “sector-wise I think discussions are clearly yet to begin... the kind of projects and sectors will be determined in the consultations with stake holders and the Government of India and northeastern states.”

Japan is a valued partner for India’s infrastructure development and “that applies to northeastern region as well. There are discussions going on... and we hope that there will be concrete development in that area (during the bilateral talks),” said Verma during the media briefing ahead of the Japanese Prime Minister’s visit.

Last November, a joint statement was issued after the India-Japan dialogue where the two premiers expressed their strong commitment to work together to enhance connectivity, besides welcoming the progress of the projects to improve road connectivity in northeastern India. They also decided to build upon their cooperation in the smart city project of India.

While appreciating Modi’s active engagement in the region under the ‘Act East Policy’, Abe briefed his Indian counterpart on the ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’. Both the premiers also recognised the potential for deeper bilateral cooperation and synergy between the Indian policy and the Japanese strategy.

According to sources, Japan is keen to get involved in more projects, including ‘viable connectivity projects’ in the Northeast. “We are working on several projects in the Northeast with help from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for improvement of infrastructure, including roads in Meghalaya and Mizoram,” sources added.

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