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India, Japan Sign Agenda for Closer Ties

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his visiting Japanese counterpart, Junichiro Koizumi, have agreed on an eight-point agenda for closer ties between the two Asian countries.

They signed a joint statement in New Delhi that proposes a high-level strategic dialogue and suggests steps to boost sagging trade ties between the two nations. It also urges an early expansion of the United Nations Security Council in which both countries aspire a permanent seat.

Relations between India and Japan have improved significantly since 2000, after Tokyo began lifting economic sanctions imposed because of India's nuclear tests.

But their bilateral trade has been limited to $4 billion for years. On this trip, Mr. Koizumi told Indian business leaders he hopes the trend will change.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.