Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has announced a new plan for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) with India as an indispensable partner. The new “four pillars” of cooperation for FOIP are the principles for peace and rules for prosperity, addressing challenges in an Indo-Pacific way, multi-layered connectivity, and extending efforts for security and safe use of the “sea” to the “air”, Kishida said.

The remarks of the Japanese PM, currently on a visit to India came while delivering a policy speech on “the Future of the Indo-Pacific—Japan’s New Plan for a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ — ‘Together with India, as an Indispensable Partner’ ” at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), New Delhi.

The expansion of cooperation for FOIP would mean incorporating realistic and practical cooperation in a wide range of areas, such as climate change, food security, global health and cybersecurity, Kishida said. He also announced a new contribution of $100 million to the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund.

The Japanese PM said the core principles of FOIP are defending freedom and rule of law and respecting diversity, inclusiveness, and openness. He proposed "rulemaking through dialogue," "equal partnership" among countries, and an approach focusing on "people." He also expressed that Japan would strengthen coordination with other countries, expand the networks among countries that share the vision of FOIP, and direct efforts in the spirit of co-creation.

Kishida also stated that in expanding cooperation for FOIP, Japan would engage in a strategic use of Official Development Assistance (ODA), expand ODA in various forms by revising the Development Cooperation Charter of Japan and set forth guidelines for ODA for the next 10 years. “Japan would launch an ‘offer-type’ cooperation, introduce a new framework for ‘private capital mobilization-type’ grant aid, and move forward with the amendment of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) Law,” he said adding that Japan would mobilise a total of more than $75 billion in public and private funds in the Indo-Pacific region by 2030 in infrastructure and grow together with other countries.

According to Kishida, the concept of FOIP is becoming more important than ever toward the goal of leading the international community in the direction of cooperation rather than division and confrontation.

Earlier during the day, the Japanese PM met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi where both leaders appreciated the steady progress made toward the 5-trillion-yen target of public and private investment and financing from Japan to India in the next five years, which was set in March last year. 

The two leaders also welcomed the signing of a 300-billion-yen loan for the project for the construction of high-speed rail and confirmed that they will continue to cooperate in promoting the high-speed rail project as a flagship project of Japan and India. The two leaders also confirmed they would continue cooperation on the development of the North-eastern region of India, through the Japan-India Act East Forum, a statement from the Japanese Embassy said.

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