From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Sister City
Mains level : India-Japan bilateral relations
- Authorities from the Japanese city of Kobe exchanged a Letter of Intent (LoI) with their counterparts in Ahmedabad for a sister city partnership.
- This will pave the way for an enhanced economic relationship between the two vibrant cities as well as the two countries.
Why such LoI?
- The LoI was exchanged in the presence of PM Modi, who visited Kobe to address a large Indian diaspora event.
- In November 2016, Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe inked a sister-state relationship MoU for Gujarat and Hyogo prefecture.
- Kobe is the capital city of Hyogo. That time, PM had also visited a bullet train plant in Kobe.
- The MoU sought to promote mutual cooperation between Gujarat and Hyogo in the fields of academics, business, cultural cooperation, disaster management and environmental protection.
- Sister cities are a form of legal or social agreement between towns, cities, counties, oblasts, prefectures, provinces, regions, states, and even countries in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.
- They are mostly affectionately named agreements between certain towns, cities, provinces or in some cases, countries all across the globe.
- In each case the towns have come to an agreement or partnership, some of which are legally binding, where others are purely symbolic and social.
- It’s here that the beauty and charm of the sister city is found: the voluntary forging of ties to encourage cultural understanding, friendship and exchange, as well as more practical applications, like trade agreements and business partnerships.
The City Diplomacy
- In recent years, the term “city diplomacy” has gained increased usage and acceptance, particularly as a strand of paradiplomacy and public diplomacy.
- The importance of cities developing their own foreign economic policies on trade, foreign investment, tourism and attracting foreign talent” has also been highlighted by the World Economic Forum.