kishida: Japan’s Fumio Kishida looks to convince India to get tough on Russia

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to seek India’s assistance to forge a broader and stronger coalition to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine when he meets Narendra Modi on Monday, adding pressure on New Delhi to choose between major world democracies and a key supplier of energy and weapons.

“As leaders of the G-7 and G-20, I want us to communicate closely in an effort to strengthen cooperation,” Kishida said March 10 when announcing the trip. He is keen to understand India’s position, especially from the viewpoint of developing countries, said a senior Japanese official asking not to be identified as the discussions are private.

India holds the presidency of the G-20, whose members Russia and China have opposed efforts by the wider group to condemn the invasion. The leaders of the G-7, a group of democracies with advanced economies, have renewed their support for Ukraine.

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The G-7 countries, themselves members of the G-20, are seeking wider backing for measures to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin including a cap on the price of Russian crude. India and other G-20 members have bought large quantities of discounted Russian oil.

Despite India’s efforts, two crucial G-20 gatherings in February and March — the finance and foreign ministers’ meetings — ended without a consensus after members disagreed over the invasion of Ukraine.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs declined to comment on Japan’s endeavor to find common ground on Russia between the two groupings.China Initiative

Kishida is more likely to find the Modi government is on the same page when he announces a new initiative for Indo-Pacific nations to counter China at the Indian Council of World Affairs on Monday.

“I will lay out a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Plan for Peace’ by next spring,” the prime minister said at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore last June as he outlined the “Kishida Vision for Peace.”

Japan will spend $2 billion in the next three years helping Indo-Pacific nations with equipment such as patrol boats as well as training their personnel to increase “maritime law enforcement capabilities,” Kishida said, adding that the new Indo-Pacific peace plan would include green initiatives and economic security.

The new initiative continues Japan’s earlier plan of working closely with India in the Indo-Pacific region.

While India is locked in a military standoff with China along its disputed Himalayan border, Japan has clashed with China over issues including the ownership of islands in the East China Sea. Tokyo and New Delhi are concerned about Beijing’s assertiveness in the region and are adding depth to their defense and strategic relations.

In January, fighters and transport aircraft of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force and the Indian Air Force carried out their first joint exercise, simulating complex air defense and attack situations at Hyakuri Air Base as the two countries deepen security cooperation.

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