Foreign Policy Watch: India-Japan

[op-ed snap] A time of strategic partnerships

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Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: India-Japan 2+2 Dialogue

Mains level: India- Japan relations



  • The India-Japan “Special Strategic and Global Partnership” has reached new heights.

Why such a partnership?

  • The rise of China and questions about America’s commitment in Asia are the main reasons behind deepening security-cum-economic relationship.

The India-Japan synergy

  1. Japan is investing heavily in strengthening its critical infrastructure to enhance its economic and potential defence capabilities.
  2. The two countries have begun working on a joint infrastructure development and connectivity drive
    • It traverses the Indian Ocean, from Myanmar to Sri Lanka to Iran and encompasses the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor
  3. On defence matters, Japan and India have agreed to establish regular consultations in the “2+2” format of their defence and foreign ministries.
  4. Their navies exercise regularly together with the U.S. Navy.
  5. Negotiations on arms sales ,the ShinMaywa US-2i amphibious aircraft are on
  6. Japanese investment in strategically placed Andaman and Nicobar Islands will help New Delhi establish a major security sentinel in the eastern Indian Ocean.

How Strategic partnerships differs from Alliances?

  1. Unlike alliances, it do not demand commitments to a partner’s disputes with other countries.
    • Eg: New Delhi does not take a strong position on Japan’s territorial disputes with China and Russia
  2. In Strategic partnership, both retain the flexibility to continue political engagement and economic cooperation with their common adversary.
  3. They avoid “entrapment”, or being dragged into a partner’s disputes and potentially into conflict
  4. Collaborative approach to strategic policies over a range of economic and military activities.
    • India and Japan, for instance, are not only moving forward on economic and defence cooperation but are also cooperating on other issues such as civil nuclear energy and Security Council reform.
  5. The aim of major strategic partnerships is to
    • Strengthen defences against marginal conflict
    • Convey a determination to stand up to a strategic adversary
    • Generate a persuasive environment that discourages potential intimidation
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