GUWAHATI: After India has emerged as one of the largest arms purchasers in the world, Japan is now keen to sell defence technology to India. Japanese ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu told The Citizen in an exclusive interview that Japan is considering something positive soon.

For Defence expenditure excluding pensions, Jaitley provided a sum of Rs 2,74,114 crores including Rs 86,488 crores for Defence capital. The Finance Minister increased the allocation for Scientific Ministries to Rs 37,435 crore in 2017-18.

“Japan has modified a policy of technology of defense and equipment transfer to foreign countries. But so far we haven’t become big seller of arms. In terms of cooperation in regards of defence technology and equipment we are looking for some concrete plan with India. We have started some discussions in what are the areas India will be interested in,” Hiramatsu told The Citizen during his visit to northeast recently.

India has emerged as the second largest arms purchaser after Saudi Arabia in the world, according to a latest report by Washington based Congressional Research Service (CRS), a public policy research arm of the United States Congress.

India was the second largest developing world arms purchaser from 2008 to 2015, making arms transfer agreements totaling $34 billion during these years (in current dollars), said the report ‘Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations 2008-2015’ released by CRS.

Hiramatsu said that it’s very important for the both the countries. “We are positively considering some possibilities soon because it’s important for the strategic relationship between the two countries,” he added.

On the relationship between India and Japan under a changed global scenario after the emergence of Donald Trump as the US president, Hiramatsu said India-Japan relation is very crucial.

“It’s pretty early to say. Let’s see what happens in the next six months or so. The relationship between Japan and US crucial and at the same time India-Japan’s relation is also equally important in this unpredictable world. I believe the bilateral relationship between Japan and India is very important for prosperity and peace in this region and also for the entire world,” he said.

In regard to the India-Japan friendship exchange year 2017, Japan will also send cultural troops and artistes to northeast part of India to make the country more familiar with the locals here.

“I really hope that more people here now about Japan. So, I would like to have some kind of events here. By inviting people from the field of culture and cinema here so that people become more familiar with Japan. I also had talk with Assam chief minister (Sarbananda Sonowal) regarding some activity here. I would also like people from Assam to visit Japan as tourists to know more about the place and the people,” Hiramatsu said.

The Japanese ambassador had a detailed meeting with CM Sarbananda Sonowal and discussed several key issues where Japan and Assam can cooperate, during his visit.

He said India is a very attractive destination for the Japanese people especially for its cultural heritage and natural beauty.

On the ‘Act East policy’, the Japanese ambassador said that it’s very crucial from Japan’s point of view. “It means India wants to connect with our part of the world. We would like to support in infrastructure projects. We have already done some projects to improve roads, which is very important for better connectivity between this region and South East Asia. We really support this policy,” Hiramatsu asserted.

In the sporting scenario, in their run up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the ambassador expressed desire of inviting Indian athletes and trainers for special training in Japan.

“The 2020 year is very important for Japan. We want to make it a successful event and for that the preparation is going on to build infrastructure. We will be happy to invite talented athletes for training to Japan and also the trainers to see the methods of training for the preparation for 2020 and beyond,” Hiramatsu said.