Declaring that time has come for Japan and India to renew and reinvigorate "our Asian identity, building on the commonalities of our interests, aspirations and values," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday night said it was an opportune moment to build on past history of very cordial bilateral interaction.
Recalling the supportive role played by Japan in 1991 to tide over India's economic crisis when he (Manmohan Singh) was Finance Minister, Singh said "it was as a result of such friendly support that India was able to emerge from the crisis and to subsequently embark on the path of economic reform that has changed the face of the economy."
The Prime Minister said that though both nations had gone through various phases in their relationship, "in times of difficulty, we have stood by each other. It is important to recall that India refused to attend the San Francisco Peace Conference in 1951 and signed a separate Peace Treaty with Japan in 1952.
"This Pandit Nehru felt, gave to Japan a proper position of honour and equality among the comity of free nations. In that Peace Treaty, India waived all reparation claims against Japan," Singh said.
The dissenting judgement of Justice Radha Binod Pal is well-known to the Japanese people and it would always symbolise the affection and regard "our people have for your country," the Prime Minister said.
Singh said contacts between the two countries date back to ancient times and is based on the "strong foundation of these age-old spiritual, cultural and civilisational ties on which basis "we are striving to build a contemporary relationship, one that is based on our shared commitment to the ideals of democracy, peace and freedom."Press Trust of India