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Sansad TV: Perspective- Boost To India-Japan Ties

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Introduction:

India is indispensable for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and no country should use force or coercion in trying to drive their territorial claims. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said this after unveiling his plan for a free and open Indo-Pacific region. On a two-day visit to India, the Japanese Prime Minister was delivering the 41st Sapru House lecture, where he asserted that Tokyo will collaborate closely with New Delhi in contributing to stability in the South Asian region. Earlier in the day, he held wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Modi on further strengthening the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership

India-Japan bilateral relation

  • Japan has been one of the biggest sources of investment flows into India.
  • The two countries signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2011 to facilitate growth in bilateral trade.
  • This was described as the most comprehensive of all such agreements concluded by India.
  • Within India: Japan has been a leading financial donor in the form of ODA (Official Development Assistance)to India.
  • It continues to maintain a high degree of interest and support for India’s mega infrastructure projects like the Delhi-Mumbai Freight Corridor, Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor and the Ahmedabad-Mumbai High Speed Rail
  • Outside India: Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGR)announced in 2017 and joint projects in some third countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka and in Africa as well will be taken jointly.
  • Defence ties:Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is a strategic dialogue between India, United States, Japan and Australia will be carried out.
  • Malabar exercise has been carried by India Japan and USA on a continuous basis.
  • 2+2 dialogueat the defence and foreign minister level.

Potential areas of development

  • Both sides are striving to push a digital partnership.
  • Areas of potential collaboration include AI, IoT, and big data
  • There are a plethora of fields that we can cooperate in security issues including cyber security, outer space and economic security to build a rules-based free and open international order.
  • Our economic partnership can further strengthen the economy of the Indo-Pacific, as well as the world economy.
  • In spite of CEPA India Japan trade it has not produced the anticipated results. In 2011-12, the total volume of the bilateral trade was $18.43 billion, but it declined to $13.48 billion during 2016-17.
  • The defence technology sharing is still a thorn. The US-2 amphibian aircraft has been on the back burner.
  • Both have diverging interest with respect to Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
  • Both countries do not have a specific China policy.
  • India and Japan need to strengthen their naval power vis-à-vis China and hasten the pending projects in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean respectively

Challenges:

  • Trade engagements have been below potential.
  • On the list of countries that India exports to, Japan is at 18th position in the list of top 25 countries. On the list of countries importing into India, Japan ranks 12th.
  • India’s exports to Japan in FY were lower than in previous FY in value terms.
  • India struggling to penetrate the Japanese market as a result of language barriers, high quality and service standards.
  • Negotiations to purchase amphibious US-2 planes have dragged on for years.

Way Forward:

  • Experts say that a strong India is in Japan’s best interest and for that, Japan must provide even more support.
  • India must leverage Japan’s strengths in areas such as medical equipment and hospitals.
  • India and Japan must endeavour to work together for a rules-based and inclusive world order.
  • Enhancing communication and connectivity for unimpeded trade and flow of people, technology and ideas for shared prosperity.
  • Further cooperate for peace, stability and prosperity of Indo-Pacific.