Following is the text of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh™s speech at the banquet hosted by the Prime Minister of Japan in Tokyo today:
I am deeply thankful to Prime Minister Abe for his warm and kind sentiments. My wife and I are delighted to be back in Tokyo. Over the last two days, we have been overwhelmed by the generous and gracious hospitality extended to us on this visit. This only reinforces my belief in the friendship that we have forged personally and the relationship that we are building steadily between our two countries.
Mr. Prime Minister, in the short time since your return to office, you have moved boldly and decisively to revive Japan™s economy and strengthen its foreign relations. You have inspired confidence and optimism at home and won respect and admiration abroad. As far as India is concerned, in your earlier tenure as Prime Minister, you had outlined a bold new vision of relations between our two countries and you have remained steadfast in the pursuit of that vision and in your friendship for India.
Each visit to Japan brings home to me the strength and vitality of our relationship, which is based on ageless bonds of admiration and affection between our people.
In Swami Vivekananda™s sermon to the Indian youth to go to Japan after his own visit in 1893 or in Okakura Kakuzo™s discovery of India a hundred years ago, we see that when Indians and Japanese come together, they strike a deep chord in each other.
It is not only our spiritual and cultural affinities that bring us together, but also our shared commitment to democracy and international peace. The success of our partnership is vital for the prosperity of our people and indispensable for a future of peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region.
In pursuit of that vision, our two countries established a Strategic and Global Partnership more than six years ago. Since then, our political, economic and strategic dialogues have expanded. Mega infrastructure projects in India such as the Dedicated Freight Corridor and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor signify the scale of our ambitions and the enormous possibilities in our partnership. Our Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement opens new possibilities for our economic relations. Our growing security cooperation is now adding an important dimension to our partnership.
Regional economic integration and the creation of an open rule-based architecture that promotes security and stability are also goals that Japan and India share. India values its cooperation with Japan in the East Asia Summit and other regional forums. Together, we seek a new architecture for the United Nations Security Council.
Excellency, in the course of these two extraordinary days, we have reaffirmed the enduring value of our strategic partnership. We have resolved to expand our economic relations, anchored in increased trade and investment. And we have agreed to progressively deepen our security cooperation. This visit gives me the confidence that a very rich future awaits this extraordinary relationship between our two countries.
With those words, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I request you to join me in a toast to:
the health and well-being of His Excellency the Prime Minister of Japan and Mrs. Abe;
the continued prosperity and progress of the friendly people of Japan; and an expanded and enhanced India Japan Strategic and Global Partnership.