NEW DELHI: Japan is keen on collaborating with India on projects in Asia and Africa as a counter to China’s Belt and Road initiative (B&RI), Tokyo’s Ambassador to New Delhi said here.
Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu revealed that the Japanese Government was in talks with Tehran and New Delhi for a role in the Chabahar Port project along with India.
“We are interested in connectivity projects and to make sure that this region is free and open and an important port like Chabahar is good for regional connectivity. I can’t tell when it will materialise, but we have expressed our interest,” Mr. Hiramatsu said. India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement in May 2016 to build trade and transit routes from the strategically located Iranian Port into Afghanistan and Central Asia, a $20-billion investment for India, and will be seen as a rival to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s Gwadar port.
The Ambassador’s statement points to the growing discussions on strategic convergence between India and other “Indo-Pacific” powers for whom China’s recent economic moves like the BRI as well as an aggressive maritime stance in the South China Sea have been a matter of concern.