Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Thursday condemned North Korea for its nuclear and ballistic missile tests and called for international efforts to maximize pressure on Pyongyang.
Abe and Modi, who held talks in Gandhinagar, western India, also agreed to promote bilateral defense and maritime security cooperation amid China's assertive activities in the Asia-Pacific region.
In a statement released after their 10th summit in three years, the two prime ministers urged North Korea to "abandon nuclear and ballistic missile development and restrain from any provocative act" after it conducted its sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3 following its launch of a ballistic missile that flew over Japan in late August.
The Japanese and Indian leaders also called on the North to honor U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions and other international agreements.
"Strengthened Japan-India ties are the basis to underpin the regional order," Abe said at a joint press appearance, stressing he will work together with Modi to take the lead toward peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world.
Abe said he and Modi agreed on the need to "make (North Korea) change its policies."
The U.N. body on Monday adopted its latest resolution that imposes the first restrictions on exports of crude oil and petroleum products to the North.
In a show of unity in tackling another security challenge faced by both countries, Abe and Modi reaffirmed the significance of "the freedom of navigation at sea, overflight and unobstructed trade based on international law," apparently in reference to China's expansionary activities in the South China Sea.
They agreed to promote bilateral cooperation in the field of defense equipment and technology as well as continue to bolster trilateral collaboration also involving the United States through joint maritime drills.
In the statement, Abe and Modi said they will keep discussing the possible export to India of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force's US-2 amphibious aircraft for search and rescue purposes. But its high price tag has been preventing the two countries from reaching a deal, Japanese officials said.
Although Japanese government sources said Tokyo had sought to upgrade security talks with New Delhi involving vice foreign and defense ministers to a ministerial-level dialogue, Abe and Modi vowed to maintain the current scheme in the statement.
In the economic field, the Japanese government pledged to provide about 190 billion yen ($1.7 billion) in low-interest loans for a new high-speed railway and other infrastructure projects in India.
Ahead of the summit, Abe and Modi attended a commencement ceremony for the railway project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad that employs Japan's shinkansen bullet train technology. The ceremony was held near Sabarmati railway station in Ahmedabad.
Japan also hopes India will adopt the Japanese technology for other high-speed railway systems in the country.
The two leaders also hailed the entry into force in July of a bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation agreement that enables Japan to export its nuclear power technology to India, and expressed hope that a new working group will promote bilateral cooperation in the sector, according to the statement.
But critics say concerns remain that technology exported to India, which conducted nuclear tests in the past without joining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, could be diverted to military use.
With regard to cultural exchanges, Abe pledged to offer support in opening Japanese language courses at 100 higher education facilities in India and training a total of 1,000 Japanese language teachers over the next five years.