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India - Japan Cooperation

India - Japan Cooperation

Context:

Recently, Indian and Japanese warships conducted exercises in the Indian Ocean. The Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force described the manoeuvres as designed to promote mutual understanding.

Background

  • Both countries faced Chinese aggression in the past days. Indian and Chinese soldiers fought on the Line of Actual in Ladakh.
  • Japan has been threatened by China on Senkaku-Diaoyu island issues.

Summary of the Debate

India-Japan Relationshipin Present Context

  • apan and India have almost a common outlook on security challenges. Both countries have difficulties with China, which has tried to intimidate Japan as well as India.
  • India and Japan are responsible members of the United Nations, they have a commonality of interest.
  • Both are also G-4 countries which are aspirants for permanent membership of UNSC.
  • Last year Japan and India has joined the U.S.A and Philippines in conducting the exercises in the South China Sea.
  • Japan is a regular participant in the Malabar Exercises. Both countries have military to Military exercises, Coast guard exercises, and Air Force exercises.
    • So, this is one dimension of relations that is progressive and is indicative of how like-minded countries can work together.
  • The relationship between the nations has evolved extremely cordially over the past two decades.
  • From 2014 to 2019, two big events took place. Indian Prime Minister visited Japan and his Japanese counterpart visited India. Japanese emperor also visited India.
  • Japan is the third-largest investor in India. Indian companies too have invested hugely and many countries are collaborating too.
  • Japan is helping India in building railroads, in health care, in telecommunication. All these diverse areas displayed there is some kind of understanding as developmental cooperation is concerned as well as economic and commerce are concerned.

India and Japan Defense Cooperation

  • Both the countries are cooperating with each other on defense, including all their military branches engaging in Join exercises.
    • Dharma Guardian is land exercise.
    • Shinyu Maitr is an aerial exercise.
    • Japan-India Maritime Exercise.
  • Malabar exercise is an annual trilateral exercise where India and Japan participated along with the U.S.A.
  • Both countries work together on defense technologies and unmanned ground vehicles.
  • There is a common threat to be countered by both the nations and by and large by themselves because there is nobody close in the vicinity. U.S.A is there but it is a possibility that Americans will not be there in the coming future. So both countries need to increase their defense ties.

Role of Middle Powers or Like-minded Countries

  • With the Nine-Dash line, China has antagonized so many countries. These likeminded or middle power countries are like ASEAN nine dash line.jpgregion nations and Oceanic nations like Australia.
    • China has picked up a fight with every country in the region to prove its hegemony with muscle power.
  • While expansionist China may not be contained but it can be restrained. The way to restrain China for like-minded countries is by speaking in one voice.
    • These nations should also cooperate with India and Japan because all have a common threat.
  • Grouping like Quad is now dropping its hesitation and realizing there is no way forward but to work together. More grouping like quad is the need of the hour.
  • China knows the possibility of these countries coming together and the possibilities of choking of Malacca strait so it has started looking for its options. It has developed Gwadar (Pakistan) and Myanmar ports for oil pipelines. 
  • These countries are at the crossroad and China has overplayed his hand and now there is a time for pushback from all these countries together.

Way Forward

  • India Japan needs to strengthen their trade ties and share technologies for defense platforms and other fields.
  • India Japan needs to build on their relationships and come close together so that they can restrain China especially in the field of Maritime Domain.

Main Points Made By Guests:

1. Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha (Retd.), Defence & Strategic Expert:

  • There is a common threat to be countered by both the nations and by and large by themselves because there is nobody close in the vicinity.
  • U.S.A is there but it is a possibility that Americans will not be there in the coming future. So both countries need to increase their defense ties.

2. Vishnu Prakash, Former Ambassador:

  • Japan and India have almost a common outlook on security challenges. Both countries have difficulties with China, which has tried to intimidate Japan as well as India.
  • While expansionist China may not be contained but it can be restrained. The way to restrain China for like-minded countries is by speaking in one voice.

3. Rajendra Harshe, Foreign Affairs Expert

  • The relationship between the nations has evolved extremely cordially over the past two decades.
  • From 2014 to 2019, two big events took place. Indian Prime Minister visited Japan and his Japanese counterpart visited India. Japanese emperor also visited India.
  • With the Nine-Dash line, China has antagonized so many countries.

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