Abe invites India's Modi to Japan to keep strong ties

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday invited Indian Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi to Japan as Tokyo aims to maintain sound relations with the emerging economy even after the change of government.

The two leaders held a 15-minute telephone conversation after the victory of Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party in India's general election was confirmed Friday.

Abe extended his congratulations to Modi, expressing his desire to further strengthen Japan's ties with India. "I believe the Japan-India relationship is a bilateral relation with the greatest potential," he said, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

"I cordially invite you to Japan in order to continue the annual summit between Japan and India," Abe also said.

The prime minister-elect expressed appreciation for the invitation, saying he is aware of recent development in the strategic partnership between the two countries, the ministry said.

Modi's party is in talks with Japanese officials over his possible visit to Japan, diplomatic sources close to the bilateral relations told Kyodo News on Saturday.

The change of Indian government comes as the two countries are negotiating a civil nuclear accord that would enable Japanese manufacturers to export reactors to India. Japan aims to increase the shipment of large infrastructure, including rapid train systems, to emerging economies.

Japan and India are also committed to strengthening their maritime security cooperation, apparently in consideration of the increasing assertiveness of China, which has been fueling tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over their territorial row in the East China Sea.

Abe visited India in January and held talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who tendered his resignation on Saturday following his Congress party's defeat in the election.