Japan and India's Growing Embrace
Image Credit: Flickr (generallising)

Japan and India's Growing Embrace


I recently spoke to a high-ranking Indian diplomat about the future of Indo-Japan relations in light of Shinzo Abe’s return to the premiership. The response was unwavering: India places “great importance” on its relationship with Japan and wants it to go “higher and higher.” With Abe at the helm, the time is ripe for this relationship to advance.

Abe is known to be staunchly pro-Indian. Not only did he describe strengthening bilateral ties as extremely important to Japan’s interests in his 2006 book Utsukushii Kuni E (Towards a Beautiful Country), but one of his major foreign policy initiatives during his previous tenure as PM was establishing a new vision for bilateral ties with India. To that end, he advocated emphasizing India and Japan’s shared values and overlapping security interests. He has also argued that both countries have a responsibility to work together in the Indo-Pacific region, which he refers to as “broader Asia.” In the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) recent campaign pledge, India was listed as a country with which Japan should enhance cooperation with on issues of national security and energy. With such support, it can be expected that Abe will look to India as a partner for greater Japanese activism in the region.

None of this should be a problem because the two already cooperate on a wide array of issues. Economically, relations have never been better. Over the past five years, bilateral trade has doubled. Things moved forward rapidly after the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) went into effect in August 2011, removing duties on 94% of products over the next ten years and ensuring greater movement of goods, services, capital, and people between the two countries. Japan offers India a wealthy, sophisticated market for Delhi’s textiles, seafood, IT, pharmaceuticals and services. Japan, on the other hand, looks to India as an export market for its auto components, high-end technology, and capital goods. Indeed, within a week of Japan’s tsunami and nuclear disaster in March 2011, India’s auto industry was expressing concern that an anticipated disruption in Japanese manufacturing would significantly hurt its business.

Additionally, Japanese companies have been investing in Indian IT and other technology projects, and the Japanese government has been sending India significant amounts of Official Development Assistance (ODA). In fact, India was the first country Japan ever extended an ODA loan to back in 1958; and since FY 2003-2004 India has been the single largest recipient of Japanese ODA. Japan also exempted India from the cuts it made in ODA following the March 2011 disasters.

Japan and India work together diplomatically to promote common interests. At the UN, they actively champion reforming the Security Council. Additionally, they cooperate in promoting the G-20 and East Asia Summit as the primary venues for international economic cooperation and regional multilateralism, respectively. Within these institutions, Tokyo and Delhi cooperate on a number of issues including nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, counterterrorism, and climate change and energy security.

Japan and India’s security cooperation over the last six years has been greater than in the previous sixty years combined. This cooperation includes: building naval capacity through port calls, naval and coast guard exchanges, joint naval and coast guard exercises, and greater cooperation in information sharing and technical assistance; the protection of sea lines of communication (SLOCs) and anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden; and extending patrol boats and capacity building training to the littoral states in the Strait of Malacca. Along with their strategic dialogue, the two sides have launched a bilateral Shipping Policy Forum, a Maritime Security Dialogue, and a Cybersecurity Dialogue.

Ramesh Deshmukh
August 28, 2013 at 10:11

Kr. Samir Soz, you have given proper reply to Mr. Devdas. Pakistan tried to invade 4 times.  India won all those 4 wars. Even created a new nation called Bangladesh.  As for China,…. India is moving slowly but in right direction.  India is on the verge of acquiring full fledged nuclear  deterence to take care of Chia.  Simultaneously taking measures to build powerful Navy and a well equiped Army.   But there was no need to declare     "NO FIRST USE POLICY" for Nuclear attck.  That policy might be good for dealing with Pakistan , but is entirely a wrong policy for dealing with China.

[...] has long put special emphasis on collaboration with India.  In a manifesto written for his 2006 bid for leadership of the [...]

sameer soz
April 23, 2013 at 19:17

devdas……..i think u r not aware of historical facts…..but let me reveal again …..1) india defeted pakistan in 1965  2) Then dis-membered it in 1971 with bangladesh emerging as a seprate nation.

Now coming to what u have stated yes india can act & should act but surely in responsible manner & as for china ………welll time will tell as to how many friends China is creating with it's "peaceful rise" to power as of now what i see ………….china has problems with very powerful neighbours like Japan, South Korea & Taiwan with rising problems with vietnam (vietnam defeted china – if u are aware then very good) philipines, malasia etc (list is growing by the day) …..not to forget ao called. Superpower US. So, don't think like 1962 china can walk into "Nuclear India" (same threat is always given by pakistani military & politician when talking about india & kashmir). So this mis-adventure may cost china hugely as militarility yes china is rising but difference is not much, may be higher in numbers but indian military is much better offesnsive trained force in the world after US

[...] this year.  With Shinzo Abe, now ensconced for a second time as prime minister in Tokyo, putting special emphasis on collaboration with India, this bilateral equation is starting to become an important feature of [...]

January 29, 2013 at 23:47

its a welcome news,a total shift of japanese manufacturing plant from china to india and other southeast countries is goodchina is now becoming an irresponsible nation as their wealth grows,intimidation,bullying and aggressive stance is now being projected in their foreign policy.trade is what drives a countries economy and with that a good friendly attitude with your trading partner must come along which china now dont follow.we must always remember that the world have live and prosper while china is in seclusion.

Alpha roger
January 22, 2013 at 16:30

Hey anon

I know Beijing and shanghai were built in a day. Sorry India doesn’t have 1300 million prisoners. Else India would build über beijings and uber shanghai and infrastructure overnight. Stupid Indians like their freedoms and log cabins they themselves built. Alternatively they will have china or Japan build these things for them as they contemplate on higher things of life like education and research…their own, not stolen.

Kohyu Nishimura
January 21, 2013 at 03:12

it's misunderstanding. Shinto is like a basic protocol among Japanese, Japanese culture.
Japanese Buddhism had been quite different and renewed from original Buddhism was imported in Japan.
because the Shintoism works,does the function of the filter to anything imported through The Korean Peninsula and Sina continent.
in that means Japanese religion is not rather Buddhism than Shintoism,even Christianity is no exception,too.

January 21, 2013 at 01:25

China is an arrogant, evil empire! It needs to be contained, shown its place, at any cost. The dump shoddy products all over the world. Imagine what you get when you buy their cheap phones for around $10? No guarantee, if it stopped working, which it does. Unashamedly, India imports crappy phones under some WTO shit from China. The Chinese will not hesitate to sell their mothers even for a few cents. God forsaken country, this China.

January 21, 2013 at 01:12

Basically, India is spineless. It can't even handle a tiny adversary like Pakistan when its  jihadi terrorists attacked Mumbai on 26/11. How can they hope to counter an emerging hostile super power like China? If China attacks India, it will never ever defend itself with its ill-equipped army and poorly trained soldiers. Corrupt army officers, politicians, and an inefficient administration all will betray the Indians.

Ma Keqing
January 18, 2013 at 09:18

Hey, devil-worshipper, ya wanna spend the rest of eternity roasting nicely along with the lord of Hades ? ? ? WTF, go on, enjoy yourself to the hilt.  But just do not persuade others to keep ya company, hot stuff !

January 17, 2013 at 04:39

Jealous…hahahaha….no, just deliriously happy for India that Japan will be spending the next few years and trillions of yen developing India's infrastructure, roads, rails, ports, airports, etc., and then facing down rioting Indians workers the likes of those who ran amok during the notorious Gujarat massacre. Go India! Go Japan!

January 17, 2013 at 01:45

With more Japanese companies exploiting the abundant labour in India, it would be a great move which allows Japan to offset the serious effects of a shrinking Japanese workforce and at the same time, prevent Japan from being forced  to bring foreign migrants into its country to stop its population decline. The Japanese are not really open to foreign migrants to its country unlike Europe or America and this a good way to avoid it by simply encouraging its companies to find low-wage and supplementary labour abroad.

January 16, 2013 at 17:56

"Diplomatically, both countries want international institutions to reflect today’s multi-polarity." really? that might be the case with India being a member of non-alignment organisation. but japan? he must have mistaken the polyp up his colon during his colonoscopy exam for a fart. because i just cant stop laughing.

Alpha roger
January 16, 2013 at 17:14

Despite jingoistic rhetoric think about this before sleeping. What a historical regret it will be for china if it triggers war accidentally or deliberately before it even got to enjoy its first vacation from its misshapen destiny. It has created a disquiet instead of making friends. It is surrounded by countries it has made adversaries. And in a war, say with U.S no country will give it a toehold. And it’s self congratulatory pat on its back is being laughed at by India Japan Vietnam Philippines Korea Australia. China’s political posture is that of a child who cries and when scolded cries harder. Us defense budget is 760 b. and the combined defense budget of next 5 or 6 powers is around 80. Wake up my Chinese friends.

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