India, Japan to talk on cooperation in Asia-Pacific - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Sunday 22 April 2012

India, Japan to talk on cooperation in Asia-Pacific

The Shinmaywa US-2 amphibious aircraft, which Japan wants to sell India. Japan's constitution bans the sale of military equipment, but this aircraft would be sold under the rubric of humanitarian relief and search and rescue

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 23rd Apr 12

This Monday, and then again on Monday the 30th, Japanese and Indian officials will meet to impart momentum to what is arguably New Delhi’s most important partnership in Asia, but one that has consistently underperformed.

These meetings seek to take forward a relationship that has the economic and military weight to balance China, and which enjoys broad political acceptance within both countries. For decades, the two sides remained aloof, first due to the Cold War, and then because of Japan’s reflexive opposition to India’s nuclear quest. In 2000, however, with China rising, the two established a “Global Partnership” and upgraded that to a “Strategic and Global Partnership” during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s path breaking meetings in 2006 with his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe.

On Monday, Tokyo will host the second India-Japan-US trilateral dialogue, the first such meeting after Washington announced its strategic shift to the Asia-Pacific in Jan 12. Officials say the participants will share their perceptions on China; discuss the regional security architecture, particularly maritime security; and the prospects for co-operating in keeping open sea lanes of communications in the face of Chinese claims.

Officials say they will also discuss ways of cooperating in the East Asia Summit, an increasingly powerful regional body. In 2005, Japan had lobbied successfully for including India in the East Asia Summit. Last year, the US (and Russia) also joined the summit for the first time.

Meanwhile, defence is emerging as an important area of India-Japan cooperation, with Tokyo exploring ways of working around a pacifist constitution, Article 9 of which prohibits Japan from maintaining a military and for settling disputes through force. Japan’s military exists as a “self defence force (SDF)”, of which soldiers, sailors and airmen are “members.” But Tokyo felt vulnerable after 2005, when Beijing was suspected of engineering violent anti-Japan riots across China, to signal its disapproval of any move to grant Japan permanent membership in the UN Security Council.

“That convinced Tokyo that China actively harboured a strong historical grievance. There are three drivers of Tokyo’s decisive turn towards New Delhi: India’s economic rise; India’s growing ties with the US; and Japan’s fear of a rising China,” says Hemant Kumar Singh, formerly India’s ambassador to Japan and now a professor with ICRIER.

With Japan’s defence spending traditionally capped at 1% of its GDP (it is still more than India’s defence budget) India is emerging as a key partner for Tokyo. The two countries signed a “Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation” in 2008 and there are regular meetings and joint exercises between the two militaries. With Tokyo realizing that its small military does not buy enough equipment to justify the development of expensive defence systems, Japan is formulating guidelines for joint collaboration in defence technologies, a major shift given its sensitivities.

“India could benefit enormously from defence technology cooperation with Japan,” acknowledge MoD sources. “But, so far, we have not started thinking about what we could cooperate on.”

What could be on the cards, though, is India’s first-ever aircraft procurement from Japan. The Indian Navy is evaluating the Shinmaywa US-2 amphibious aircraft; a short take-off and landing (STOL) amphibious aircraft that can take off from either land or from water with 18 tonnes of load. Its range of 4,700 kilometres reaches across vast tracts of ocean, performing multiple tasks: humanitarian aid, disaster relief, search and rescue, as well as military logistical activities.

The second meeting, on 30th April in New Delhi, is a “Ministerial Level Economic Dialogue.” Conceived in 2010, during the PM’s visit to Japan, this brings together cabinet ministers from both sides who holding economic portfolios, such as finance, commerce, industry, infrastructure and environment, in order to impart “strategic and long-term policy orientation to their bilateral economic engagement… and to coordinate economic issues of cross-cutting nature, including infrastructure development and financing.”

This ministerial dialogue complements the India-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which came into force last August.

On the anvil are the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor; the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC); cooperation in clean energy initiatives, particularly the Regional Energy Efficiency Centre (REEC).


  1. Are you sure you meant "rubric" ?


  2. You are kidding, right Manoj.C?? WTF ??!!??

    Col. Shukla - I think FDI's from the Japanese like what they did for China would make a bigger difference to our comprehensive strength as a nation. Hopefully, there are signs of increasing FDI from the Japanese.. apart from these a/c's..

  3. I sincerely hope and wish Japan doesn't loose patience with Indians and keeps up with their steadfast support of India. In the long run, Indians will mature and their investments in India will bear good fruits. What Indians need is Japan's support in industrial infrastructure projects. The best thing the Japanese can do is at individual and state level, by having more people exchanges. For a chance for Indians to better understand Japan and for Japanese to better understand India's inhibiting factors.

  4. Indian thread of Buddhism played a magic for long time with China and could be broken by them only when they turned into the Red Dragon and started speaking 'Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai'.

    On the other hand, Japan does not have any borders with India and they supposedly understand within their own hearts that India does really needs nukes against the likes of Pak and the Red Dragon. So I feel that India and Japan should suitably upgrade their mutual relations.

  5. Write about the Arjun now....lazy boy..time to work..



    And you want India to Buy it

  7. Dear Ajay,

    A few days ago you had vented upon the lack of merit in selection of Army Commanders and Chief.

    See some views on it:

  8. @ Anonymous 10:28

    Times change, people change and circumstances change.

    The procedures that Sinha talks about are different from those that were followed by the Emperor Akbar. But they were changed for the better. And they need to be changed for the better again.

    Because times change, people change and circumstances change.

  9. @Broadsword

    about changing times...
    yes, Broadsword, you are right..
    Changing time was exemplified by Gen Vaidya..

    That a succession plan is required to be engineered even at the cost of rendering the ethos and moral system of the Forces useless, is the latest change, we have witnessed.

    You are aiming and desiring at a very narrow perspective of only Armour Corps having birth right to merit and birthright to be generals. That does not solve the issue. If all the Army Chiefs are from Armoured Corps then who is to be the Chief?

    Obviously, from your Regiment ! If not, then your squadron type. You are aiming at such changes.

  10. @ Manoj C

    Yes, I certainly did mean rubric! See the link that you have posted and you'll get your answer...

  11. @ Anonymous

    Pointless arguing with you since you already possess the wisdom of the universe.

    It must be nice to start with the answer... and then arrange a selected bunch of facts around it? Go ahead, have a nice life.


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