Japan on Tuesday said India has a major role to play in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
This message was conveyed by Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono during a congratulatory telephone call to Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday, a statement from the Japanese embassy said.
The two ministers discussed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India later this year for the Japan-Indian annual summit, the statement added.
“Kono invited External Affairs Minister Jaishankar to the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in November, and stated that he would like to welcome External Affairs Minister Jaishankar in Japan at an early timing to discuss wide-ranging issues," it said.
Kono also discussed a meeting between the foreign ministers and defence ministers of India and Japan in the “2+2" format that Japan and India have agreed to hold.
In response, Jaishankar said he hoped to further expand the scope of cooperation with Japan. He also “stated that he would like to meet Foreign Minister Kono at various occasions such as international conferences, and visit Japan at an early stage," the statement said.
Jaishankar was a surprise inclusion in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet, which was sworn in on 30 May. This followed the Bharatiya Party's win in the April-May polls with a huge mandate.
Japan was one of the first countries that Modi visited soon after taking oath on 26 May 2014. Coincidentally, Japan will be one of Modi’s first destinations abroad during his second term in office as well, with Modi slated to attend the G20 summit in Osaka at the end of June.