- The keywords of the question are Global partnership and Strategic partnership.
- So your main body should discuss these two aspects in a cohesive manner.
- Introduce with the recent Indo-Japan relations.
- Then in the 1st part of the main body, mention why these two nations need each other’s support.
- Then discuss the prospect of India and Japan in global partnership and strategic partnership in Asia.
- Role of QUAD, in countering the aggression of China, Tackle common challenges of terrorism and proliferation, Asia-Africa Growth Corridor or AAGC is an economic cooperation agreement between the governments of India, Japan, and multiple African countries, etc. Then mention nuclear deal, bilateral agreements, investment in northeastern countries, cultural exchange, military ‘exercise Malabar’
- Mention some way forwards in the last part of the answer, as in, what should be the future endeavor of Indo-Japan ties.
Japan and India have shared a long-enduring strategic and economic partnership which got further elevated to a ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ in 2014. Ever since Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corporation’s investment in India in the early 1980s, which transformed the automobile sector, ties between the two countries have grown from strength to strength.
Why do India and Japan need to build a strong contemporary relationship?
- Complementarity: Abe sees India as the key to expanding Japan’s security options beyond its current US-centric framework, while Modi views Japan as central to the success of India’s ‘Look East’ strategy. ‘
- Dissimilarity: The two countries’ dissimilarities actually create opportunities to generate strong synergies through economic collaboration. Japan has a solid heavy manufacturing base, while India boasts services-led growth. India is a leader in software and Japan a leader in hardware. India has the world’s largest youthful population, while Japan is aging more rapidly than any other major developed country. Whereas Japan has financial and technological power, India has human capital and a huge market.
- Economy: Abenomics’ and ‘Modinomics’ are both geared to the same goal – reviving laggard growth — yet they need each other’s support for success. Whereas Tokyo sees New Delhi as important to its own economic-revival strategy, India looks at Japan as a critical source of capital and commercial technology and a key partner to help upgrade its infrastructure and manufacturing base.
- China factor: The China Factor Japan clearly has an interest in a stronger, more economically robust India. Just as Japan assisted China’s economic rise through large-scale aid, investment and technology transfers for over three decades — a role obscured by the recent flare-up of disputes — it is ready to help India become an economic powerhouse on par with China
What will be the significance of the relationship between Asia and the world as a whole
- Countering Chinese assertion: China has become increasingly assertive in its bilateral and regional relations, opening multiple fronts of competition and challenge as it seeks to intimidate and exhaust any resistance into passive acquiescence if not outright submission. Of all the Asian countries, India and Japan are the best placed to withstand China’s pressures and provide cover for other Asian countries to also resist.
- The economic development of Asia and Africa: They have also teamed up to pool comparative and locational advantages to launch their own “Asia-Africa growth corridor” connectivity and infrastructure projects for Southeast Asia and Africa as a counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
- QUAD: As the rationale of value-oriented foreign policy (based on universal values like democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and so on) gained traction, India has been accorded space in Japan’s value-based foreign-policy frameworks including ‘Arc of Freedom and Prosperity’, ‘Confluence of the Two Seas’, ‘Quadrilateral Initiative’ and subsequently Asia’s ‘Democratic Security Diamond’.
What should be the focus of the India- Japan relationship?
- The Indo-Japan relations are to countering China’s Influence in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea but now countries should go beyond countering China.
- Having made this leap, it is imperative that India and Japan also look beyond their lofty geopolitical aims, at the more basic aspects of bilateral engagement.
- While Japan is India’s largest donor and the third-largest provider of FDI, bilateral trade has steadily declined since 2013 and is down to $13.61 billion in 2016-17 from $14.51 billion the year before. The contrast with India-China trade, at $71 billion a year, and the Japan-China trade, at $279 billion, is stark.
- Synergizing their resources and capabilities, and ensuring the efficient implementation of joint projects will be critical.
- As the Indo-Pacific construct assumes greater space in policy designs given its geopolitical and strategic dimensions, it is imperative for both India and Japan to engage in forward-thinking to accomplish the full potential of this ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’.
- India and Japan must coordinate and cooperate on connectivity projects in South Asian neighborhoods including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and even Myanmar.
- India and Japan will benefit by exploring the potential for joint projects in Africa, including in countries like Nigeria, Mozambique, and Angola and elsewhere, given common energy interests.
- Close cooperation with a democratic India, located midway along trade-routes connecting East Asia with the Middle East and Africa, would be advantageous to Japan.
- At the same time, a technologically deficient India has much to gain from a relationship with a country like Japan.
For securing the global commons and realizing a stable Indo-Pacific, India, and Japan both have to work individually, bilaterally and at a regional level in order to guarantee a rules-based order in accordance with international law.