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December 10, 2001
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Japan, India to work towards tighter economic ties

Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee (L) speaks with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiJapan and India have agreed to work towards strengthening economic ties in the wake of Tokyo's suspension of sanctions on India, a Japanese finance ministry official said on Monday.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who is in Japan on a five-day visit, met Japanese Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa earlier in the day.

"I am grateful that Japan decided to lift the economic sanctions," the official quoted Vajpayee as telling Shiokawa. "Now we can plan economic ties between India and Japan from a long-term perspective. We hope we can strengthen our ties."

Japan suspended sanctions on India and Pakistan on October 26, clearing the way for fresh economic aid in a show of support for the two nations during US-led strikes on Afghanistan.

Japan froze all new loans and grants except for humanitarian aid after India and Pakistan carried out tit-for-tat nuclear tests in May 1998.

According to the official, Shiokawa told Vajpayee that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had recognised the need to put more emphasis on Japan's relations with the rest of Asia, not just with nations in Southeast Asia.

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