Japanese premier in Delhi to boost economic, defence ties

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New Delhi, Dec 28 (ANI): Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Monday arrived in New Delhi on his first visit as premier to hold high-level talks on economic and defence security issues with India.

Earlier in the day, Hatoyama met more than 20 of India's top industry leaders in Mumbai and discussed a host of issues, primarily bilateral trade relations between India and Japan.

The Japanese Prime Minister, who has promised to forge a new place for East Asia in international diplomacy, opened three days of talks in India on Monday focusing on engineering, a further thaw in relations and boosting trade.

Japan and India, Asia's largest and third largest economies, have been working at improving ties since Japan slapped sanctions on India in response to its 1998 nuclear tests.

Hatoyama launched his visit by meeting Indian industrialists, including Tata group chairman Ratan Tata and Reliance Industries head Mukesh Ambani, at a Mumbai hotel. He was due later to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Dr. Manmohan Singh.

India wants details of Hatoyama's foreign policy, particularly Tokyo's attempts to pursue a foreign policy more independent of Washington and improve ties with China.

New Delhi will also want to know more about India's place in Hatoyama's proposed East Asian community with a single currency, inspired by the 27-nation European Union.

Japan is India's sixth largest investor. Bilateral trade, more than 12 billion dollars in 2008-09, is targetted to climb to 20 billion dollars by next year.

Hatoyama's talks with India could also focus on climate change policies -- with the two countries on opposite sides of the debate, particularly on expanding the scope of Japanese support for renewable energy projects in India. (ANI)

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