India - Japan Relations

MAR 31

Mains   > International relations   >   India and Global Powers   >   India-Japan

WHY IN NEWS?

  • The 14th India-Japan Annual Summit was held in New Delhi, India on March 19, 2022.

INTRODUCTION:

  • 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,” which share strategic interests.
  • 2022 marks 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and India.

HISTORY:

  • Exchange between Japan and India is said to have begun in the 6th century when Buddhism was introduced to Japan.
  • Japan and India signed a peace treaty and established diplomatic relations on in 1952. This treaty was one of the first peace treaties Japan signed after World War II.
  • Ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have enjoyed cordial relations.
  • In the post-World War II period, India's iron ore helped a great deal Japan's recovery from the devastation.
  • Japan started providing yen loans to India in 1958, as the first yen loan aid extended by Japanese government.

AREAS OF COOPERATION:

  • Development Assistance:
    • India has been the largest recipient of Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan for the past decades.
    • Delhi Metro is one of the most successful examples of Japanese cooperation.
  • Trade relations:
    • In recent years, economic relationship between Japan and India have steadily expanded and deepened.
    • The volume of trade between the two countries has increased.
    • India was the 18th largest trading partner for Japan, and Japan was the 12th largest trading partner for India in 2020
    • India's primary imports from Japan are machinery, electrical machinery and parts of motor vehicles.
    • Exports include petroleum products, chemicals, fish, metalliferous ores and textile yarn.
    • The India-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that came into force in 2011 covers trade in goods, services, movement of natural persons, investments, Intellectual Property Rights, custom procedures etc.
  • Investments:
    • Direct investment from Japan to India has been increased, and Japan was the 4th largest investor for India in FY2020.
    • Japanese private-sector's interest in India is rising, and, currently, about 1,455 Japanese companies have branches in India.
  • Connectivity:
    • Synergy between 'Act East' policy and 'Partnership for Quality Infrastructure:
      • Japan continues to cooperate in supporting strategic connectivity linking South Asia to Southeast Asia through the synergy between 'Act East' policy and 'Partnership for Quality Infrastructure.'
    • Introduction of Shinkansen System:
      • Japan and India had committed to build High-Speed Railway in India by introducing Japan’s Shinkansen System, which is the flagship project of Japan-India relation.
    • Within India, Japan is supporting the development of major projects like Delhi-Mumbai Freight Corridor and Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project.
  • Energy:
    • India has a civil nuclear deal with Japan, which provides for the development of nuclear power projects in India.
    • Both countries are members of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER).
    • They also cooperate in areas like supply of electricity and renewable energy.
      • Japan is a party to the India- led International Solar Alliance
  • Defence:
    • Bilateral and multilateral exercises
      • India and Japan defence forces organize several bilateral exercises namely, JIMEX, SHINYUU Maitri, and Dharma Guardian.
      • They also participate in Malabar exercise.
    • Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA):
      • In 2020, India and Japan signed a logistics agreement –ACSA- that will allow armed forces of both sides to coordinate closely in services and supplies.
    • Agreement on Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation, 2015:
      • It elevated the strategic partnership to newer heights as India and Japan began technical discussions on the prospects of equipment and technology cooperation.
      • The Joint Working Group on Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation (JWG-DETC) was instituted in 2015, following the landmark shift in Japan’s arms export policy.
      • India’s quest of defence modernisation and diversifying its acquisition sources present opportunities for Japanese defence industry, which, prior to 2014, focused solely on the domestic market given the value of tsutsushimu, entailing restrictions on arms transfers which barred Japan from entering the international defence market and participating in joint development and production of arms.
  • Strategic:
    • In 2014, India and Japan upgraded their relationship to 'Special Strategic and Global Partnership'.
    • Japan is prospecting the development of Asia Africa growth corridor and the idea of Quad, involving India, USA and Australia, to counter china’s aggressive strategies.
    • Japan also investing in India’s rare earth mineral explorations to overcome its severe import dependency on China.
    • First India-Japan 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting was held in 2019
    • Recently, India, Japan and Australia have formally launched the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) in a move to counter China’s dominance of the supply chain in the Indo-Pacific region.
    • Both India and Japan are members of G-20 and G-4.
  • Cultural:
    • Today, Yoga is very popular in Japan.
    • Also, there are agreements to promote bilateral partnership in Indian traditional medicinal systems like Ayurveda.  
  • Technology and manpower:
    • Bilateral S&T cooperation began in 1993 with the establishment of the India-Japan Science Council (IJSC).
    • Today they cooperate in areas of in the areas of skill enhancement, Material Sciences, Healthcare, Methane Hydrate, Robotics, Peaceful uses of Outer Space etc.
  • Key takeaways from 14th India-Japan Annual Summit, 2022:
    • Investment by Japan:
      • Japan will invest Rs 3.2 lakh crores in the next five years in India.
      • 7 JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) loans for projects in connectivity, water supply and sewerage, horticulture, healthcare, and biodiversity conservation in various States.
    • Technology transfer
      • An MoU has been signed to introduce Johkasou technology in India by Japanese companies for decentralised wastewater treatment.
      • It is used in areas where sewage infrastructure has not yet been developed
    • Sustainable Development Initiative for the North Eastern Region of India:
      • It has been launched with an eye on India’s infrastructure development in the Northeast
      • It includes cooperation in connectivity, healthcare, new and renewable energy, as well as an initiative for strengthening bamboo value chain.
    • India-Japan Digital Partnership:
      • On cyber security, the leaders discussed “India-Japan Digital Partnership” with a view to enhancing the digital economy through promotion of joint projects in the area of IoT (internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and other emerging technologies.
    • Skill export:
      • Japan is looking forward to attracting more highly skilled Indian IT professionals to contribute to the Japanese ICT sector.
    • Clean Energy Partnership:
      • It was launched for cooperation in areas such as electric vehicles, storage systems including batteries, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, development of solar energy; hydrogen; ammonia; etc.
      • The objective is 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.
    • Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR):
      • India appreciated Japan’s cooperation on the MAHSR and various Metro projects in India and looked forward to the planned preparatory survey for the Patna Metro.
    • People to People Engagement:
      • India agreed to participate in the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan, as an opportunity to further strengthen and broaden trade, investment and people-to-people links between the two countries.
    • On Indo-Pacific:
      • Both countries expressed their commitment to promoting peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
    • Cooperation counter terrorism:
      • Japan 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 (Financial Action Task Force).
    • Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty:
      • Japan stressed the importance of early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
      • The Treaty intends to ban all nuclear explosions - everywhere, by everyone. It will enter into force after all 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty will ratify it.
      • India has not yet signed the Treaty.
    • On Situation in Other Countries:
      • Ukraine:
        • Both countries sought a peaceful solution on the basis of international law.
      • China:
        • Discussed about border issues that the both countries facing with territorial aggression of China.
      • Afghanistan:
        • Both countries expressed their intention to collaborate closely to realize 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.
        • Unequivocally demands that Afghan territory not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing terrorist acts.
      • North Korea:
        • Both countries condemned North Korea’s destabilising ballistic missile launches in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs).
      • Myanmar:
        • They called on Myanmar to urgently implement ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus.

SIGNIFICANCE OF INDIA-JAPAN RELATIONS:

  • Countering China:
    • Japan is concerned over China’s unilateral actions in the East and South China Seas, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong. Whereas, India is concerned over China’s military conflict in Galwan valley.
    • Japan has the resources- financial, technological and diplomatic- to counter China’s monopolistic growth.
    • The recurring tensions in South China Sea demand Japan to have close relations with a strong naval ally like India.
  • Development of North East:
    • Japan has decided to invest an amount Rs.13,000 crore in several ongoing as well as new projects in different states of India's North- Eastern region.
    • This will be vital for the region’s development.
  • Success of India’s Asian ambitions:
    • Japan cooperates in supporting strategic connectivity linking South Asia to Southeast Asia through the synergy between Act East policy and Partnership for Quality Infrastructure.
  • Infrastructural development:
    • Japan is actively exporting its technology under Partnership for Quality Infrastructure. Given its large market, demography and growth potential, India stands to reap the most from this.
  • Maritime cooperation:
    • Maritime security is an important subject on which both India and Japan have convergent interests.
    • Both countries depend critically on sea- borne trade for sustaining their economies.
  • Export of workforce and import of technology:
    • Japan has the oldest median age of population (Almost a third of its population is over 65) in the world, but has technological superiority. India has a young population but is technologically deficient.
    • Hence, technology-manpower exchanges will benefit both nations equally. 
  • For success of Indian efforts:
    • Japan is a major manufacturing hub and has extended its support to the Make in India initiative.
    • Also, with the Pandemic triggering an exodus of Japanese industries from China, India stands to gain.
  • Maintain global order:
    • Both nations share several common ideals like democracy, the rule of law, and human rights, which are vital in a rapidly deglobalizing world.
    • In the context of china’s aggressive posturing in Indo-Pacific it is critical to further promote efforts toward the realisation of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”.
  • Climatic vulnerabilities:
    • Both countries are acutely vulnerable to climate change impacts and hence require synergised actions at the global and bilateral level.
    • In Global Climate Risk Index 2021 >> India and Japan is ranked at 7th and 4th respectively.
  • Increased scope for defence collaboration:
    • Japan’s goal to revive its waning defence industry as it comes out of the decades-old export ban >> opens up wider scope for collaboration with Indian defence sector.

AREAS OF CONCERN:

  • Japan’s economic closeness with China:
    • Though they share a complicated relationship, China is Japan’s largest trading partner and Japan is China's third-largest trading partner.
    • On comparison, India-Japan trade relations are sub-optimal.
  • India’s RCEP exit:
    • With India no longer in the mix, RCEP has become a significantly weak bloc.
    • Hence, Tokyo faces a major conundrum with the free trade agreement.
  • Irritants in cybersecurity cooperation.
    • One, India’s insistence on data localization.
    • Two, India’s reluctance to accede to global cybersecurity agreements such as the Budapest Convention.
  • Future of Nuclear energy:
    • Following the Fukushima disaster in 2011, there has been a global aversion towards nuclear power and this is dominant in Japan itself.
    • This has been a major impediment in the full realisation of the Indo-japan civil nuclear deal
  • COVID-19 crisis:
    • The pandemic has strained the economies of all countries’, which is inhibiting cordial expansion of relations.
  • Slow progress:
    • The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) was announced in 2017. However, the actual progress has been slow. This is questioning its relevance as a counterweight to Belt and Road initiative.

WAY FORWARD

  • Expand economic ties:
    • India offers a sound manufacturing base and market for Japanese.
    • India should leverage this opportunity by looking at what India’s competitors such as ASEAN countries are doing to attract Japanese investment and attract investments through strong infrastructure and efficient regulatory systems.
    • Japan should reaffirm its support for key manufacturing initiatives, such as ‘Make in India’ and the Japan Industrial Townships.
    • India should secure continued infrastructure investments in the strategically vital connectivity projects. For example, the Northeast and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands connectivity projects
  • Energy cooperation:
    • India’s energy demands and imports are increasing and Japan, post-Fukushima, is heavily reliant on imported energy.
    • So a coordinated effort is needed to meet the emerging requirements:
  • Long term climate plan:
    • Both countries are acutely vulnerable to climate change impacts. Hence, long-term energy strategy necessitates a shift towards actions that limit their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Ensuring maritime safety
    • Acknowledging the importance of ensuring maritime safety in achieving a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific, both countries need to further promote cooperation in the field of capacity building in maritime security and Maritime Domain Awareness including through cooperation with other countries.
  • Enhance People to people cooperation:
    • Diaspora has been a major tool in India’s soft power diplomacy.
    • But the true potential of India’s relatively small Japanese diaspora remains under-utilised and should be explored.
  • Need to further strengthen the defence equipment and technology cooperation
    • For instance: need for cooperative research in the area of Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV)/ Robotics.
  • Cooperation in countering China:
    • There should be a continuation of the balancing security policy against China as both have been the victims of China’s aggressive posture.
  • Enhanced strategic collaboration:
    • Both the countries need to enhance their support for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific and the Quad grouping.

PRACTICE QUESTION:

Q. ‘India-Japan relations have evolved into an inclusive and multi-layered relationship based on cultural bonds, technology transfer and common universal values’. Discuss