Japanese PM in India with an eye on trade, China

NEW DELHI (AFP): Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrived in India on Monday for talks expected to focus on deepening trade and technology ties as well as shared concern about China.

India and Japan along with the United States and Australia make up the Quad alliance, which positions itself as a bulwark against China’s growing assertiveness in Asia under President Xi Jinping.

Ties between India and China have been frosty since 2020 when 20 Indian troops and at least four Chinese soldiers were killed on their disputed Himalayan frontier.

Kishida’s visit comes less than a fortnight after Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese was also hosted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks that touched on China and boosting trade ties.

Albanese, who is also forging closer ties with the United States and Britain under the separate so-called AUKUS alliance, is due to host all Quad leaders in May.

The Quad members deny hostile intentions and stress that they are not a military alliance but China has described it as an attempt to encircle it.

Modi and Kishida were expected to announce initiatives on clean energy, digital trade and infrastructure as part of the wider Indo-Pacific Economic Framework launched last year.

As the incumbent G7 president, Kishida was also expected to invite Modi to a summit of the grouping in May, media reports said.

India currently holds the rotating presidency of the Group of 20.