Daily Management Review

Japan, India Agree To Deepen Defence With China In Mind


Japan, India Agree To Deepen Defence With China In Mind
As they seek to counter growing Chinese influence across Asia, the leaders of India and Japan agreed to push for more cooperation with Australia and the United States and to deepen defence ties with each other.
Skipping the tradition of visiting the capital of New Delhi, for the tenth meeting between two leaders since Modi came to power in 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived this week in his counterpart Narendra Modi’s home state.
As Abe and Modi, who enjoy a close personal relationship, increasingly see eye-to-eye to balance China as the dominant Asian power, relations have deepened between Asia’s second and third largest economies.
“Almost everything that takes place during the visit, including economic deals, will in part be done with China in mind,” Eurasia analysts said in a note.
In a dispute that had raised worries of a broader conflict between the Asian giants, is was just days ago that New Delhi and Beijing agreed to end the longest and most serious military confrontation along their shared and contested border in decades, and this was followed by the Abe visit.
Deepening security links was paramount, India and Japan said in a lengthy joint statement. The possibility of joint field exercises between their armies and collaboration on research into unmanned ground vehicles and robotics were included in that.
For cooperation with the United States and Australia, there was also “renewed momentum”. For fear of angering Beijing, India rejected an Australian request to be included in four-country naval drills earlier this year.
“Relations between India and Japan are not only a bilateral relationship but have developed into a strategic global partnership,” Abe told reporters in Gandhinagar, the capital of western Gujarat state.
“We (India and Japan) will strengthen our collaboration with those countries with whom we share universal values.”
A $17 billion bullet train project, India’s first, that was made possible by a huge Japanese loan is beinfgg constructed and Abe flew to Gujarat to lay its foundation stone.
In order to edge out Chinese ambitions to do the same and provide a boost for its high-end manufacturers, Tokyo wants to win other high-speed rail lines India plans to build.
In its remote northeast, a region New Delhi sees as its gateway to Southeast Asia, India said it welcomed proposals for increased Japanese investment into infrastructure projects there, even though the visit was light on specific announcements.
China claims part of India’s northeast as its own territory.
Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar told reporters that Japanese investment into the northeast “would give legs to our Act East policy”.
On the development of industrial corridors for the growth of Asia and Africa, they would push for more progress, Modi and Abe also said.
China’s Belt and Road project, envisaged as a modern-day “Silk Road” connecting China by land and sea across Asia and beyond to the Middle East, Europe and Africa, is the targeted aim of the planned $40 billion Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, analysts say.