Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday embarked on a trip to Japan and China, where he was scheduled to attend the seventh Asia-Europe summit, reported dpa.
During his official engagements in Japan, which begin Wednesday, Singh is to hold talks with the country's new prime minister, Taro Aso, to assess the global economic crisis and ways to deal with it.
The two leaders were also to discuss cooperation on political and security issues and hold talks to finalize a broad-based economic partnership.
"I consider our bilateral relations with Japan to be one of the most important bilateral relationships we have," Singh said in a departure statement before he left for Tokyo.
"A strong India-Japan relationship will play a significant role in the emerging Asian security architecture and will contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of Asia and the world," Singh added.
During his three-day visit, Singh was also to call on Emperor Akhito and Empress Michiko and address a gathering of Japan's business leaders.
On the second leg of his five-day trip, Singh is to travel to Beijing for the 45-nation Asia-Europe summit, to be held Friday and Saturday.
It is for the first time that India has been invited to the summit, which is to focus on enhancing dialogue between Asia and Europe on issues that include trade, security and terrorism, climate change and nuclear non-proliferation.
Countries that are to attend include China, Japan, South Korea, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, the 10 nations of the Association of South-East Asian Nations, the 27 nations of the European Union and the European Commission.
Besides holding bilateral talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the summit, Singh is to also meet with other world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.