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Exchange between Japan and India is said to have begun in the 6th century when Buddhism was introduced to Japan. Indian culture, filtered through Buddhism, has had a great impact on Japanese culture, and this is the source of the Japanese people's sense of closeness to India.
After World War II, in 1949, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru donated two Indian elephants to the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. This brought a ray of light into the lives of the Japanese people who still had not recovered from defeat in the war. Japan and India signed a peace treaty and established diplomatic relations on 28th April, 1952. This treaty was one of the first peace treaties Japan signed after the World War II.
Ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have enjoyed cordial relations.
Prime Minister Mori's visit to India in August 2000 provided the momentum to strengthen the Japan-India relationship. Since then, annual meetings between prime ministers, including Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to India in April 2005, Prime Minister Singh's visit to Japan in December 2006, Prime Minister Abe's visit to India in August 2007, and Prime Minister Singh's visit to Japan in October 2008, have led to the establishment of the "Strategic and Global Partnership between Japan and India" as well as the further strengthening of the bilateral relationship. Most recently, during Prime Minister Hatoyama's visit to India in December 2009, Japan and India singed the Joint Statement "New Stage of Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership".
Both countries have been conducting annual Foreign 0ffice Consultations at the Foreign Secretary level. The Security Dialogue between the two countries was set up in 2001 and six rounds of dialogue have been conducted since then. During the Indian Prime Minister's visit to Japan in 2008, "the Joint Statement on security cooperation between Japan and India" was issued. Furthermore, Action Plan to advance Security Cooperation based on the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation between Japan and India was issued during the Japanese Prime Minister's visit to India in 2009. The Japan-India 2 + 2 Dialogue, which is the framework established based on the agreement by the Prime Ministers of both countries at the Annual Summit in December 2009, was held in New Delhi in July 2010.
Bilateral trade is expanding in the recent years. However, the speed and scope of expansion are still limited.