Examine the strategic importance of India-Japan bilateral relations.
India-Japan relationship has a long history of strong cultural and civilizational ties. Defence and security cooperation between India and Japan are the strong pillar of the bilateral relationship.
Japan is facing the twin problem in the region like India. In both cases, China’s assertive behavior is the matter of concern. Apart from that on one hand, India is having Pakistan, on the other hand, Japan has the threat of North Korea. Therefore both Japan and India are coming close to each other. In order to counterbalance assertive Chinese behavior, both India and Japan are forging ties. This deal is considered as a counter-balance to China’s expanding activities in the Indo-Pacific. Thus, both these countries realize that there is power vacuum due to the relative decline of US role in the region.
Both nations co-operate each other from security and surveillance perspective. Malabar exercise is one good example. Apart from that In case of defense procurement, both nations are negotiating for amphibian aircraft, for surveillance of Andaman and Nicobar region. Also, both Japan and India are pursuing the avenues of joint production.
India-Japan Civilian Nuclear Deal is the vital component of the cooperation and strategic relationship between two nations. The deal is a landmark as it reflects the growing trust between two because Japanese had reservations regarding the fact that India is not a signatory to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
In the economic sphere, India and Japan are major economies of the region. In 2011 Japan-India signed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and agreed to eliminate various restrictions in order to boost trade relations. Japan has the technology but its population is aging, on the other hand, India has a demographic dividend, however, we need technology, therefore India and Japan compliment each other. Apart from that Japan is investing into various infrastructural projects by providing Official Development Assistance (ODA). In fact, Japan has made a commitment to invest $35 bn in India, this will provide a boost to Make in India initiative.
The good thing about Indo-Japan relationship is the absence of serious disagreement such as territorial disputes, this provides depth and maturity to the Indo-Japan bilateral relationships. The importance of India and Japan is reflected from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement that a strong India will lead to a strong Japan, and a strong Japan will lead to a strong India.
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