Foreign Policy Watch: India-Japan

Strategic cooperation between India, Italy and Japan can ensure a free Indo-Pacific


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 2- India-Japan-Italy partnership


Recently, Mr. Draghi, Italy’s Prime Minister described Chinese competitive practices as “unfair” and invited the EU to be franker and more courageous in confronting Beijing on various issues. Against this backdrop, a trilateral partnership between India-Japan-Italy could play important role in the Indo-Pacific region.

India’s growing centrality in Indo-Pacific strategic architecture

  • Countries that share similar values and face similar challenges are coming together to create purpose-oriented partnerships.
  • In the context of the Indo-Pacific, the challenges posed by China’s assertive initiatives clash with a region lacking multilateral organisations capable of solving problems effectively.
  • But as a new pushback against China takes shape and as Indian foreign policy becomes strategically clearer, there is new momentum to initiatives such as the Quad.

India-Italy-Japan trilateral partnership

  • Recently, Italy has also begun to signal its intention to enter the Indo-Pacific geography.
  • It has done so by seeking to join India and Japan in a trilateral partnership.
  • Italy has become more vocal on the risks emanating from China’s strategic competitive initiatives.
  • On the Indian side, there is great interest in forging new partnerships with like-minded countries interested in preserving peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
  • The responsibility of keeping the Indo-Pacific free and open, and working for the welfare of its inhabitants falls on like-minded countries within and beyond the region.

Potential of trilateral partnership

  • Their compatible economic systems can contribute to the reorganisation of the global supply chains that is now being reviewed by many players as a natural result of the Chinese mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  •  At the security level, the well-defined India-Japan Indo-Pacific partnership can easily be complemented by Italy.
  • At the multilateral level, the three countries share the same values and the same rules-based world view.

The way forward for trilateral cooperation

  • The Italian government must formulate a clear Indo-Pacific strategy that must indicate its objectives.
  • But Rome must go beyond that in defining and implementing, at the margins of the EU’s common initiatives, its own policy with respect to the Indo-Pacific.
  • The India, Italy and Japan trilateral initiative can be a forum to foster and consolidate a strategic relationship between these three countries, and specifically expand India-Italy bilateral relations.
  • A trilateral cooperation can be the right forum for India and Italy to learn more from each other’s practices and interests and consolidate a strategic dialogue that should include the economic, the security and the political dimensions.
  •  To consolidate the trilateral cooperation in this field, the three countries need to define a common economic and strategic agenda.


A clear political will is needed from all sides, and Italy, in particular, should recognise its interests in playing a larger role towards the maintenance of a free and open Indo-Pacific. Robust India-Italy strategic ties can be the first step towards the realisation of this goal.

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