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Visit of Japanese Prime Minister Fails To Sway India against Russia

March 21, 2022 (EIRNS)—India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to go along with India’s partners the Quad mechanism—the United States, Japan, and Australia—during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on March 19. Their joint communiqué did not mention Russia, let alone imposing sanctions, Global Times reported.

Although Kishida pushed Modi to take a tougher line on Russia over its action in Ukraine issue, during his first visit to India since taking office, the joint statement showed that the Japanese lobbying did not meet the expectations of the United States or Australia. None of the other three Quad members carries the weight to persuade India to sacrifice its own national interests, given that Russia plays an important role in India’s strategic policy, experts said.

In the joint statement, the prime ministers expressed their concern about the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, and assessed its broader implications, particularly to the Indo-Pacific region. They reiterated their call for an immediate cessation of violence, and stated that there was no other choice but the path of dialogue and diplomacy for resolution of conflict.

While Quad members the U.S., Japan and Australia have imposed sanctions on dozens of Russian individuals and organizations, India has refrained from commenting directly. India also abstained in three United Nations votes deploring Moscow’s actions, calling only for a halt to violence.

Meantime, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced today that it was taking actions in response to Japan’s “obviously unfriendly” unilateral restrictions imposed on Russia in connection with the Ukraine situation:

• Most important, “the Russian Federation does not intend to continue peace treaty talks with Japan because it is impossible to discuss this fundamental document ... with a state that holds an explicitly unfriendly position and seeks to harm the interests of our country.”

• Russia will suspend visa-free travel for Japanese citizens under the 1991 agreement on visa-free exchanges between the Southern Kuril Islands and the 1999 agreement on visits by former Japanese residents of the Southern Kuril Islands.

• Russia will withdraw from the dialogue with Japan on developing joint economic activities on the Southern Kuril Islands.

• Russia will block the extension of Japan’s partner status in the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation on sectoral dialogue.

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