(Sansad TV: Perspective)
March 18: India-Japan Ties – https://youtu.be/uS7IRdNduQg
- GS-2: India and its neighbourhood
Context: Japanese PM Fumio Kishida and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks to further strengthen the bilateral ties. Linked by universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, which have been shared through a long history of exchange, Japan and India are special strategic and global partners, sharing strategic interests. In this milestone year i.e., 2022 (28 April 1952), it marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and India
Formal relations between Japan and India began in 1952. After the Second World War, instead of signing the multilateral San Francisco Peace Treaty, India opted for concluding a bilateral peace treaty with Japan, considering that honour and equality should be ensured for Japan to rejoin the international community. This is the cornerstone of our long-standing friendship. But even before the establishment of diplomatic relations, the goodwill between the people of the two countries was deeply rooted through business, academic and cultural exchanges. In 1951, when India hosted the first Asian Games in New Delhi, it invited Japanese athletes. This was one of the first occasions where the Japanese flag was hoisted after WWII. This experience soothed the minds of Japanese people who were struggling to rebuild their country. After 70 years of multi-layered exchanges, the relationship between our two countries grew into a “Special Strategic and Global Partnership”.
Relations between the two countries
- Convergence on free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific,
- Progress in defence and security and in regional context.
- India and Japan signed a Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services Agreement (RPSS).
- The inaugural 2+2 ministerial meeting was held in November 2019.
- Act East Forum: A decision was taken in the 2017 Summit to establish the India-Japan Act East Forum. The objective is to coordinate developmental projects in North-East India in areas of connectivity, forest management, disaster risk reduction and capacity building.
- Several projects including upgradation of highways in Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram are underway. The PM had last year laid the foundation stone of a 20 km-long bridge over the Brahmaputra River between Assam and Meghalaya.
- Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) – The Trade and Economy Ministers of India, Japan and Australia launched the (SCRI) on 27 April 2021. The initiative seeks to enhance the resilience of supply chains in the Indo-Pacific Region and to develop dependable sources of supply and to attract investment. As initial projects (i) sharing of best practices on supply chain resilience; and (ii) holding of a matching event have been completed.
The two countries have achieved the target of 3.5 trillion Japanese Yen in public and private investments in India.
- Today, there are 1,455 Japanese companies in India. Eleven Japan Industrial Townships (JIT) have been established, with Neemrana in Rajasthan and Sri City in Andhra Pradesh having the maximum number of companies.
- Japan is the 5th largest source of FDI; largest supplier of ODA (development partner of India)
- Several infrastructure projects are underway through Japanese assistance including Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail, Dedicated Freight Corridor, metro projects, DMIC etc
- Last year, PM Modi inaugurated the Varanasi Convention Centre (Rudraksh), while the then PM Yoshihide Suga sent a video message.
- The two sides had signed a Digital Partnership in October 2018. Collaboration in startups has emerged as a vibrant aspect under this Partnership. Till date Indian startups have raised more than USD 10 billion from Japanese VCs. India and Japan have also launched a private sector driven fund-of-funds to invest in technology startups in India which has raised USD 100 million so far.
- Both countries also have cooperation in the field of ICT, in areas such as 5G, under-sea cables, telecom and network security. A workshop on 5G was also held.
- Progress has also been made in the area of skill development. The total number of Japan-India Institutes of Manufacturing (JIM) now stands at 19 (it was 8 in 2018). These institutes are established by Japanese companies based in India for training skilled workers. Japanese companies have also set up 7 Japanese Endowed Courses (JEC) at various colleges.
- 220 Indian youth are placed in Japan as interns under Technical Intern Training Programme (TITP). Last year India had also signed a Specified Skilled Workers Agreement. The Japanese side has since January this year started examinations for nursing care under this programme.
During the summit
- Strong language against Pakistan for terror attacks: On terrorism, the two leaders reiterated “condemnation of terrorist attacks in India, including 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks, and called upon Pakistan to take resolute and irreversible action against terrorist networks operating out of its territory and comply fully with international commitments, including to FATF”
- Humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan: Expressed “their intention to collaborate closely to realise peace and stability in Afghanistan, and stressed the importance of addressing the humanitarian crisis, promoting human rights and ensuring establishment of a truly representative and inclusive political system”. They also referred to the UNSC Resolution that unequivocally demands that “Afghan territory not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing terrorist acts”.
- Nuclear non-proliferation: Since Kishida is from Hiroshima, he “stressed the importance of early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)”. This is significant since Kishida represents the constituency in the Japanese parliament.
- Pact on cooperation in 5G, cyber security: Discussed “India-Japan Digital Partnership” with a view to enhancing the digital economy through promotion of joint projects for digital transformation and collaboration in the area of IoT, AI and other emerging technologies.
- Development in North East: Have decided to launch a “Sustainable Development Initiative for the North Eastern Region of India”, which includes both ongoing projects and possible future cooperation in connectivity, healthcare, new and renewable energy, as well as initiative for strengthening bamboo value chain.
- Import of Japanese apples and export of Indian mangoes: Flagged India’s approval to imports of Japanese apples and relaxation in procedures for Indian mango exports to Japan.
Announcement: A clean energy partnership was launched with an objective to encourage manufacturing in India, creation of resilient and trustworthy supply chains in these areas as well as fostering collaboration in R&D. It will be implemented through the existing mechanism of Energy Dialogue.
The enormous possibilities that exists
- Plethora of fields to cooperate in, security issues including cyber security, outer space and economic security.
- Our economic relations can be further augmented: For long, Japan has been the largest ODA (Official Development Assistance) donor to India. One of the most recent and ongoing examples of our collaboration is the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail project. Japan is also one of the largest investors in India. Both countries have also promoted economic cooperation in other countries to enhance social infrastructure and connectivity. Our economic partnership can further strengthen the economy of the Indo-Pacific, as well as the world economy.
- Cultural exchanges including literature, movies, music, sports and academics are essential for our relations, enabling a better understanding.
Can you answer the following questions?
- Indo-Japan relations have achieved greater strategic heights in recent years. Do you agree? Discuss.
- Japan has not only been a trusted partner in India’s journey towards economic strength but has also emerged as a critical strategic ally. Do you agree? Critically examine.