Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi agreed Monday to maintain the rules-based international order in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and China's increasing clout in the Indo-Pacific region.
Later in the day, Kishida also said in a speech that Japan will provide more than $75 billion to developing countries in the region by 2030 through the public and private sectors so that they can improve their infrastructure.
After their talks in New Delhi, Kishida said he and Modi promised to work together toward the success of the Group of Seven and Group of 20 summits that Japan and India are slated to host, respectively, later this year.
Japan holds the G-7 presidency in 2023. Kishida said he invited Modi to the G-7 summit in Hiroshima in May, and the offer was immediately accepted. India is this year's chair of the G-20.
The two leaders confirmed that the G-7 and G-20 will closely cooperate in dealing with a wide range of global challenges, including energy and food supplies, with Kishida saying at a joint press announcement that the world is "facing a historic turning point and difficulties."
India, a member of the Quad -- the four-way security framework also involving Japan, the United States and Australia -- has emerged as a key member of the "Global South," a term that collectively refers to developing nations in areas such as Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Kishida has sought deeper ties with developing countries to lay the groundwork for a successful G-7 summit scheduled in Japan's western city, devastated by a U.S. atomic bomb in World War II.
Modi hailed Kishida's commitment, saying that one of the most important roles of the G-20 presidency is to "give voice to the Global South."
In a speech after talking with Modi, Kishida announced a new plan to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, a Japan-led initiative aimed at curbing China's growing regional assertiveness.
Kishida said in the speech that it is "fragile states" that "need the rule of law," adding the Indo-Pacific blueprint "does not exclude any nation" to respect the diversity of all countries.
As concerns linger over Russia's nuclear saber-rattling amid the ongoing war on Ukraine, Kishida has pledged to pitch his vision of a world without nuclear weapons at the G-7 meeting.
In tandem with other G-7 members, Japan has bolstered economic sanctions on Russia, but New Delhi has refrained from implementing punitive steps against Moscow because India is highly dependent on the resource-rich nation for military and energy supplies.
As part of bilateral cooperation, Modi expressed his readiness to move forward with a high-speed railway project connecting the western coastal city of Mumbai and Ahmedabad in the Gujarat state, for which Japan has given financial and technological support.
The ambitious transportation program has been employing Japan's shinkansen bullet train technology. Additionally, Japan vowed Monday to offer up to 300 billion yen ($2.3 billion) in low-interest loans for the project.
Kishida's trip to India comes weeks after Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi skipped a gathering of the G-20's top diplomats, held for two days earlier this month in New Delhi.
Hayashi's absence triggered a backlash from some Indian media outlets, with a number of them saying it could cast a shadow over bilateral relations.
Along with the G-7 -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus the European Union -- the G-20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey.
On Monday, meanwhile, Kishida told reporters that Japan will also invite South Korea to participate in the G-7 summit in Hiroshima, with ties between the two Asian countries improving after Seoul announced its solution to a major bilateral dispute over wartime labor.