Updated July 22, 2022
India and Japan have been engaged in cultural exchanges from the 6th century when Buddhism was introduced in Japan. The Indian culture passed through Buddhism has had a great impact on Japanese culture. The people of both countries are guided by common cultural traditions including the heritage of Buddhism. And, this is the source of Japanese people’s sense of closeness to India. A strong India-Japan relation is a global common good because they share common values of commitment to democracy, openness and rule of law. So, it has a great significance in building a strong strategic partnership between India and Japan.
India and Japan have strengthened their relations over the years with bilateral visits by the Prime Minister. And, its partnership is one of the most rapidly thriving relationships in Asia. It has emerged as a significant factor that contributes to the stability and security of the Indo-Pacific region. Both countries have made sustained efforts to push their assistance in the economic realm Viz Japanese assistance to India on connectivity projects. They not only focus on economic engagement but also on the wide range of interest including regional cooperation, maritime security, global climate and UN reforms. Both Japan and India through strategic convergence seeks to re-calibrate Asia’s balance of power.
Building Strong Contemporary Partnership
The friendship between India Japan has a long-rooted history in spiritual affinity and strong cultural and civilization ties. Such close ties have been reaffirmed in the 21st century with the conclusion of “Special Strategic and Global Partnership” between the two countries. Japan is extending the bilateral relationship with India to establish peace and order not only in Asia but in the entire world.
Enhancing Their Strategic Partnerships
Co-operation in Security Fields– Japan considers India as a reliable defence partner. They always show a strong desire to enhance bilateral security and defence cooperation as they share a strong commitment to democracy, rule of law and openness. The two leaders issued “the Joint Declaration on Security cooperation between India and Japan” in 2008. Even, there is also a various dialogue between Japan and India regarding security and defence that includes “2+2” meeting, annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue and Coast Guard-to-Coast Guard Dialogue to enhance the security and defence cooperation. Through all this, Japan and India strategic partnership increase at a very large extent.
Even, there is converging interest of both the countries on issues like maritime security, secured sea lines of communication, rules-based international and regional order etc. They are also trying to forge strong relations with other countries to tackle China.
Cooperation in Indo-Pacific Region-
It is a confluence between India’s Act East policy and Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy. It will strengthen the rule of law and freedom of navigation, which is threatened by China’s muscle-flexing in the South China sea. This will also enhance cooperation with Japan and ASEAN countries.
India and Japan are large trade partners with a wide range of goods ranging from electronics to agriculture ever since Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corporation’s historic investment in India. It has transformed the automobile sector and the ties between the two countries have grown from strength to strength. The joint co-operation with Indian companies is one of the highlights of this relation. They made a great effort to enhance the bilateral trade ties in 2011 when they signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). The CEPA envisages the abolition of tariffs on over 94 per cent of items traded over a period of 10 years. It also includes services, movement of natural persons, investments, IPR, customs procedures and other trade-related issues.
India and Japan have signed various ties wherein Japan will invest in the Indian economy. Japan is one of the largest bilateral donors for India and it has been extending bilateral loans and grant assistance since 1958. Recently, Japan has announced a Country Assistance Policy providing ODA to build India’s critical infrastructure, and to address social and environmental causes.
Japanese have undertaken to assist in many on-going landmark infrastructure projects, be it the Ahmedabad-Mumbai High-Speed Rail, the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor with twelve new industrial townships, or the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC).
India and Japan strategic partnership can establish peace in the Asian region and the world in the following ways:
(a) India and Japan expanding partnership serves as a counter against a rising China in Asia. Japan and India can build road and rail connectivity across the Eurasian landmass, running parallel to China’s own ‘one Belt, One Road’ project.
(b) There is a rising significance of the Indo-Pacific region. India and Japan which occupy the rim of the Indo-Pacific region can drive the agenda for the new world order of the 21st century along with ASEAN. India and Japan can build peaceful and prosperous Asia.
(c) There is uncertainty on the role of the United States of America’s commitment to peace in the region. This emerging gap can be filled by India and Japan. India is one of the few countries which has the capacity to act as a net security provider in the region. It will contribute to free, open, transparent, rule-based and inclusive Indo-pacific region. A strategic partnership will counter Chinese aggression in the South-East Asian region.
(d) India and Japan share common values. They will focus on issues of sustainable development through the platforms such as Asia- Africa Growth Corridor.
(e) The UNSC reforms are long overdue. The UNSC doesn’t reflect the changing global realities and the P5 are hesitant to recognise the emergence of new world leaders like Japan, India, Germany etc. Both countries are engaging through G4 along with Brazil, Germany will work towards bringing reforms in the United Nations Security Council apart from focussing on areas like Climate change, disaster management etc.
(f) India and Japan are members of the QUAD (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) group. It can play an important role in global order maintenance.
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