Japan PM Suga cancels India trip; 2+2 talks also postponed
New Delhi/Tokyo/UNI: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has cancelled a planned visit to India later this month.
India and Japan have also decided to postpone their foreign and defence ministerial talks scheduled for this weekend in Tokyo.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato on Wednesday told reporters in Tokyo that Suga decided against the visit as he needs to address a resurgence of coronavirus infections in the country.
Suga's visit, which had been scheduled during the period through early May, was intended to reaffirm Japan's cooperation with the two countries in achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific, as they look to counter China's military buildup and growing assertiveness in the region.
In India, Suga was expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first time in person and discuss the promotion of cooperation on economic and security issues, ranging from infrastructure building to outer space and cybersecurity.
Through the meeting with Modi, Suga also planned to solidify a security framework consisting of Japan, India, Australia and the United States -- collectively known as the Quad -- seen as a counterweight to China's growing clout in the region, Kyodo news service quoted government sources as saying.
Suga has also cancelled his visit to the Philippines, aimed at marking the 65th anniversary of the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two countries.