Japanese PM Abe’s visit to India-September 2017

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Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s India Visit-September 2017

 

 

India and Japan have shared very strong bilateral relations. Historically Japan was influenced by Buddhism which reached on the Japanese mainland from India via China and Korea. People of both nations are guided by principles of democracy, open society and pluralism. Both nations are very important geographic entities and have capabilities to respond to global and regional challenges.Indo Japanese bilateral trade is expected to reach 50 US $ by 2020.

Since 1947,both nation have had warm political relations. Japanese major firms have had manufacturing plants in India. Our bilateral relations at times were affected by the equations of Cold War.USA was suspicious of us and thus it had an impact on our relations with the Japanese too. During WW2 Japan assisted Indian National Army to fight against the Britishers.Due to bombing of Atomic bombs on cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the war ended in East Asia and Japan could no longer support India militarily.

Both nations have had immense cultural ties. Japanese have acknowledged the quality of Indian IT engineers. India and Japan have a memorandum signed which straightway gives a work visa for 3 years and same is being reciprocated by Japanese too. Both nations have also reduced tariff duties as high up to 90 % on each other’s exports. Japanese as a foreign language is taught at many universities in India and Sanskrit is studied in Japanese universities.

We had a very tough time during 1998 when India conducted nuclear tests resulting in severe economic sanctions and suspension of political activities from Japan. They could be re-established 3 years after and then they grew phenomenally.

 

Significance of relations in today’s geopolitical realities.

 

We have come a long way since establishing diplomatic relations since April 1952.Indian Iron Ore helped Japan to recover post WW2 and Japan extended Yen Loans to us. Japan has been India’s largest donor since 1986 and still holds the position. Japan is India 4th largest source of Foreign Direct Investment.

In 2016 Japan and India signed, the “Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy”, a landmark civil nuclear agreement, under which Japan will supply nuclear reactors, fuel and technology to India. India is not a signatory to the non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and is the only non-signatory to receive an exemption from Japan. Deal was delayed due to Fukushima Nuclear disaster of 2011,March.The two sides also signed agreements on manufacturing skill development in India, cooperation in space, earth sciences, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, transport and urban development.

In 2000 both nations consented to establish “Japan-India Global Partnership in the 21st Century. In April, 2005, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi visited India and signed Joint Statement “Japan-India Partnership in the New Asian Era: Strategic Orientation of Japan-India Global Partnership.”

Both nations have had strain in relations with China. This is primarily due to the territory-land boundary dispute {India and China} and Island disputes{China-Japan}.Currently India and Japan conduct Joint Navy exercise known as Malabar exercise which also sees engagement of USA and thus enhancing shared maritime Indo-Pacific concerns.

Japanese premier visit also showed inauguration of construction of Bullet Train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. India and Japan had signed an agreement in December 2015 to build a bullet train line between Mumbai and Ahmedabad using Japan’s Shinkansen technology. The Indian Bullet Train that will be built will cost £12bn and a 0.1% interest rate loan. With the help from Japan, both countries hope this will strengthen their economic ties and suspend China’s influence in Asia.

Both nations ended up signing 15 agreements in fields of language training, disaster risk mitigation knowledge sharing, to promote institutional cooperation and plans to develop North East region of India via mutual cooperation.

The ties between both nations have strengthened over decades. Given the times where we see Korean peninsula in crisis times and doubts about the Chinese territorial ambitions. It is imperative for both nations to have strong and sustainable relations. This is also vital given the fact that peace is essential for the growth.

 

Harsh Vardhan Pathak.