Indian media: Papers back strong Japan ties as royal couple visits

Japan's Emperor Akihito (L) and Empress Michiko wave towards the crowd during their visit to the Lodhi garden in New Delhi December 1, 2013.
Image caption Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are meeting top Indian leaders

Media feel Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko's India visit will boost bilateral ties between the two nations.

The royal couple is in India on a six-day visit amid hopes of infusing some much-needed vigour in trade, nuclear and defence relations.

"Emperor Akihito's visit marks the start of a new era in India-Japan relations. Japanese PM Shinzo Abe will follow the emperor to India next month, when several deals will be sealed, perhaps one on nuclear cooperation too," says the Deccan Herald.

The paper stresses that India realises the value of the visit and "is pulling out all the stops to make the imperial visit special".

An article in The Times of India highlights the importance of strong relations between the two Asian economic giants.

"They (Delhi and Tokyo) have a congruence of views on many issues - economic and strategic, not only to actively cooperate in several infrastructure projects of immense importance for India's growth story, but also to join hands to foster shared interests in the vital, and sensitive, strategic domain, including maritime security," it says.

Despite the mutual warmth, the Indian government faced some embarrassment on Saturday after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's office misspelt the Japanese empress's name on Twitter as "Kimicho", The Indian Express reports.

The erroneous tweet was soon deleted by Mr Singh's office, but not before Japanese officials called for more care over the "important symbolic visit", the report adds.

Papers are also seeing strong India-Japan ties in the backdrop of China's growing influence and assertiveness in the region.

Tensions are on the rise in the region after Beijing declared a new air defence zone in the East China Sea last week.

The controversial air defence identification zone includes islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, which are claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan.

But Indian papers say Delhi must walk a diplomatic tightrope and not get dragged into regional tensions.

"While concerns over China are understandable, Delhi must avoid being seen to be part of anti-China groupings as an insecure China is not in India's long-term security interests," the Deccan Herald adds.

Wedding thieves

Meanwhile, newspapers are also discussing the arrest of prominent journalist Tarun Tejpal over allegations of sexual assault on a female colleague.

The Hindustan Times hopes that the police "will be meticulous in their collection of evidence and recording of statements" as the trial "will be a litmus test for the law".

Mr Tejpal was the editor of leading investigative magazine Tehelka until he stepped down from his post last week in what he said was a move to "atone" for the "incident".

However, he has not been formally charged and denies the accusations against him.

The Pioneer says the arrest will satisfy those who felt the authorities were being "more than lenient" to the influential editor, and calls on the police to "fortify the prosecution's case".

And on the broader subject of violence against women, 93% voters in Delhi see it as a key issue in state elections due on 4 December, according to an opinion poll reported by the Hindustan Times.

People "are more likely to vote for candidates who commit to strong action on this issue", the report says.

Moving on to other news, the Delhi police are searching for the members of a gang of thieves who target posh weddings by pretending to be guests, a report in The Pioneer says.

Police say the gang has carried out several thefts within the last month, soon after the annual wedding season got under way, the report adds.

And finally, India's rising badminton star PV Sindhu won the women's singles title at the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold Tournament on Sunday, the NDTV website reports.

Sindhu beat world No 30 Li Michelle of Canada in just 37 minutes in the title clash, the report adds.

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