Japanese PM urges stronger partnership with India

Associated Press
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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, left, and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrive for their scheduled talks in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011. Noda is on a two-day state visit to India(AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

NEW DELHI (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Wednesday that India and Japan should step up political and economic and security cooperation as he met business leaders and officials on a state visit.

"I am convinced that we need to strengthen the partnership," Noda said at a lunch with business representatives, according to Press Trust of India.

Noda later met External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"Our cooperation on regional and global issues and nontraditional threats to security, such as piracy and maritime security has significantly strengthened," Singh said of his meeting with Noda, according to a statement.

The two leaders also discussed Japanese involvement and assistance to infrastructure development projects in India. Economic talks are planned next year, Singh added.

Over the next five years alone, India was targeting over a trillion dollars of investment in major infrastructure projects, Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma told Noda during the meeting with business leaders.

The two countries signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in February.

Sharma said that bilateral trade between the two nations was likely to touch $25 billion by 2014.

Bilateral trade was $13.2 billion during January-September this year, up 24 percent from last year.