Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on a visit to Japan, on Tuesday made a strong pitch for cooperation between India and Japan in patrolling the Indian and Pacific Oceans to ensure freedom of navigation and eliminate the menace of piracy.
He told a joint conclave of several organisations in Tokyo that India and Japan are among the major actors in the India-Pacific region and it is the responsibility of both countries to foster a climate of peace, stability and cooperation and to lay an enduring foundation for security and prosperity.
''Both nations should strengthen regional mechanisms and forums that would help develop habits of consultation and cooperation, enable them to evolve commonly accepted principles for managing differences, reinforce congruence in the region and allow both to address common challenges,'' Prime Minister Singh said.
He was addressing the Japan-India Association, the Japan-India Parliamentary Friendship League and the International Friendship Exchange Council at Toyo on Tuesday (See: Full text of PM Manmohan Singh's address, ''India, Japan must unite to rid high seas of piracy'').
''We should promote wider and deeper regional economic integration and enhance regional connectivity. This will promote more balanced and broad-based economic development across the region and contribute to a more balanced regional architecture.
''Maritime security across the linked regions of the Indian and Pacific Oceans is essential for regional and global prosperity. We should, therefore, uphold the principles of freedom of navigation and unimpeded lawful commerce in accordance with international law, resolve maritime issues peacefully, and work together more purposefully to harness the potential of the seas and address common sea-based challenges such as piracy,'' Singh said.
''India's relations with Japan are important not only for our economic development, but also because we see Japan as a natural and indispensable partner in our quest for stability and peace in the vast region in Asia that is washed by the Pacific and Indian Oceans,'' Singh said.
Singh arrived in Tokyo on Monday for a three-day visit. He will hold exhaustive talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe today. Apart from furthering economic ties, increased nuclear cooperation is also reported to be high on his agenda.
On the economic front, he said the world has a huge stake in Japan's success in restoring its growth momentum. Tokyo's continued leadership in enterprise, technology and innovation and ability to remain the locomotive of Asian renaissance were crucial, he said.
For almost two decades, Japan's economy has been facing an unprecedented stagflation.
Singh noted that India and Japan had increasingly convergent world views and growing stakes in each other's prosperity and shared interests in maritime security as both faced similar challenges to energy security.
''There are strong synergies between our economies, which need an open, rule-based international trading system to prosper. Together, we seek a new architecture for the United Nations Security Council,'' he said.