The economic and strategic relations between India and Japan, poised for deeper ties with each other, will benefit India's 'Smart Cities' project, feel experts. India has inked deals with Japan on an array of fronts.
Calling the two nations 'pillars' of international politics in South-east Asia, policy-makers and diplomacy experts said that Japan would be the right country to share ideas on how to make Indian cities ‘smart’.
"Cities of Japan are already smart, they have perfected almost all elements required to make a smart city. I think they will be very ideal models for Indian cities, which are striving to become 'smart'," Regional Advisor, UN (Habitat), Dr Kulwant Singh said, while chairing the discussion on infrastructure and smart cities at the India-Japan Co-operation Conference, organised by Observer Research Foundation (ORF), in Mumbai on Tuesday night.
Speaking to iamin on the sidelines of the conference, Singh observed that there is a great potential in the India-Japan partnership in areas of infrastructure, manufacturing and high technology, including advanced transportation systems, solar power generation and energy. "These form the core elements in making of a smart city. Thus, India's 'Act East' policy and Japan's 'partnership for quality infrastructure' can help develop smart cities in India," Singh said.
According to the UN official, Japan's research on urban projects, including Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Urban Public Transportation Systems (UPTS), will be integral in bringing Indian cities to international levels.
The conference also witnessed an efficacious presentation on the Japanese city of Yokohama - a small fishing town - which has now bloomed into a megapolis. International Relations Divisions officer, Shinobu Yamamoto from the City of Yokohama, pitched the city as an inspiration for the first 20 cities that are to be developed into Smart Cities of India with a proposed investment of Rs 50,802 crore during the next five years.
"From Solid Waste Management (SWM) to waste water treatment and UPTS have been successfully implemented and running in Yokohama for past several decades. We would like to share our approach, planning and models for Indian cities as well," Yamamoto said.
Earlier in the day, the Japanese urban expert had a meeting with the officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), wherein Yamamoto and his team shared insights and plans into subjects like SWM and urban sanitation.