Remarks by Hon’ble Ambassador H.E. Shri Sujan R. Chinoy at a reception in his honour by ICIJ (1 February 2016)
Mr. Ryuko Hira-San,
Board Members & Governors of the Indian Commerce & Industry Association Japan,
Distinguished Ladies & Gentlemen,
I wish to express my deep appreciation to Ryuko Hira-San and all his colleagues for organizing this wonderful gathering to welcome me and my wife Vidya. He and other eminent members of the sizeable Indian community in Japan are our true Ambassadors. They have done much over the years to foster friendship and cooperation.
When I first learnt of my appointment as Ambassador to Japan, it is a dream that had come true. I have very fond memories of my short visit to Japan in 1978 as an Exchange Student at OtemonGakuin University in Osaka. I had then experienced the warm friendship of the Japanese people firsthand, both on the campus and in the course of the many homestays that I had at the homes of fellow students. Those enchanting days in Japan left a deep impression on me, and I recall telling the Yomiyuri Shimbun in an interview in 1978, in response to a question about my future goals, that I would like to become a diplomat and return to Japan one day!
That dream took 37 years to be realized. Then, as now, I find Japan a land of great natural beauty with friendly people unmatched in grace and dignity. Now that my wish has been fulfilled, I can paint both eyes of my Daruma doll, in accordance with Japanese tradition.
Friends, the friendship between India and Japan is age-old. It is deeply rooted in our spiritual affinity and strong cultural ties. It can traced to the time of Bodhisena‘s arrival in Japan in 736 AD for the consecration ceremony of the Great Buddha Statue in the Todaiji Temple. Buddhism, which spread from India to East Asia, is a key element in our shared historical and civilizational heritage. Daruma, or Bodhidharmaof India, is the founding patriarch of Zen Buddhism. The Hindu-Buddhist ethos of democracy, openness, rule of law, respect for the individual and for nature, and, a compassionate outlook towards all sentient beings, is part of our common inheritance. It continues to shape our contemporary outlook as was evident at the second conferencein the series of the jointly initiated Samvad(Dialogue) in Tokyo on 19 January on “Shared Values and Democracy in Asia”.
We in India have great regard and respect for Japan, the diligence and perfection of the Japanese people, their strength of character and resilience in the face of adversity, and especially their ability to scale the heights of modernity and technological advancement without losing their identity and ancient cultural moorings.
Today, there exists unmatched public goodwill and political consensus in India for our Special Strategic and Global Partnership.
Japanese private investments in India are rising sharply. The Memorandum we signed during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to India in December on Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation is a shining symbol of a new level of mutual confidence and strategic partnership in the cause of a peaceful and secure world. No less historic is our decision to introduce the High Speed Rail, Shinkansen, known for its speed, reliability and safety, on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector.
India has just marked its 67th Republic Day on 26 January. We have reaffirmed our faith in democracy and inclusive development, under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The Indian economy is the world’s fastest growing economy. Our GDP growth of 7.5 per cent in the current financial year is expected to set India on an even higher growth trajectory in the future. India has vast reserves of youthful human resources at a time when many large economies face the challenge of aging populations and a depleting work force. Having a presence in India should logically be part of every global company’s risk mitigation strategy. There is immense scope for Japanese companies to enhance their profitability and competitiveness by manufacturing in India.
We appreciate the strength of public and private Japanese commitment to the ‘Make In India’ campaign and Prime Minister Abe’s announcement of the creation of a special fund of 1.5 trillion Yen to support Japanese companies in this context. We laud Prime Minister Abe’s efforts to increase the quantum of Japan’s finance and investments for India over five years to 3.5 trillion Yen.
The ICIJ has played a great role in fostering closer cultural, commercial and people-to-people ties between India and Japan. I hope, in tandem with the ICIJ, to encourage the captains of industry and CEOs in Japan toinvest in manufacturing to take advantage of our large domestic market, our low cost of labour, and, our open business environment.I hope many more Hon’ble Members of Parliament will visit India.
As Prime Minister Modi said during Prime Minister Abe’s recent visit to India in December, one cannot think of a strategic partnership that can exercise a more profound influence on shaping the course of Asia and our interlinked ocean regions than ours. No partner has played such a decisive role in India’s economic transformation as Japan. No friend will matter more in realizing India’s economic dreams than Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe himself is a great champion of closer relations, has said that the India-Japan relationship is one with the greatest potential of all.
I am confident that the depth and diversity of our cooperation will ensure that we scale new summits together in our shared endeavour to promote peace, security and prosperity.
I wish each one of you good health and happiness in the Year of the Saru.