In­dia-Ja­pan co­op­er­a­tion: Be­gin­ning of an era

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - [ By Lt Gen­eral P.C. Ka­toch (Retd) ]

Ja­pan, the ‘Land of the Ris­ing Sun’, wit­nessed the dawn of a new era in In­dia-Ja­pan re­la­tions as Prime Min­is­ters Naren­dra Modi and Shinzo Abe put the seal on the Tokyo Dec­la­ra­tion of Septem­ber 1, 2014; the In­dia-Ja­pan Spe­cial Strate­gic and Global Part­ner­ship. Prime Min­is­ter Modi spoke about Ja­pan’s im­por­tance in In­dia’s for­eign pol­icy and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and her place at the heart of In­dia’s Look East Pol­icy. Both Prime Min­is­ters ac­knowl­edged: In­dia and Ja­pan are Asia’s two largest and old­est democ­ra­cies with an­cient cul­tural links and en­dur­ing good­will be­tween their peo­ple; both coun­tries share con­ver­gent global in­ter­ests, crit­i­cal mar­itime in­ter-con­nec­tion and grow­ing in­ter­na­tional re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, abid­ing com­mit­ment to peace and sta­bil­ity, in­ter­na­tional rule of law and open global trade regime; shared in­ter­ests in se­cu­rity of mar­itime and cy­ber do­mains; shared ob­jec­tives to pre­serve the in­tegrity and in­vi­o­la­bil­ity of global com­mons; shared com­mit­ment to mar­itime se­cu­rity, free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion and over-flights, civil avia- tion safety, unim­peded law­ful com­merce, and peace­ful set­tle­ment of dis­putes in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional law; both economies have vast com­ple­men­tar­i­ties that cre­ate bound­less op­por­tu­ni­ties for mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial eco­nomic part­ner­ship; re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two coun­tries draw strength and vi­tal­ity from the ex­cep­tional con­sen­sus on the im­por­tance and po­ten­tial of this re­la­tion­ship across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum, the business com­mu­nity and peo­ple in all walks of life.

Geopo­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ments, par­tic­u­larly China’s ag­gres­sive­ness, have made Ja­pan sit up and re­view its self-im­posed re­stric­tions in the af­ter­math of World War II. It is ob­vi­ous re­al­i­sa­tion has dawned that a be­nign pos­ture only of­fers one­self as easy prey in this era of de­ceit, am­bi­gu­ity and ag­gres­sion. Hence, ex­ter­nal fac­tors have forced Ja­pan to re­view its de­fence co­op­er­a­tion with other coun­tries. Lat­est in­di­ca­tion of this is Ja­pan sell­ing its state-of-the-art sub­marines to Aus­tralia. In­dia and Ja­pan have al­ready been en­gaged in multi-sec­toral min­is­te­rial and Cab­i­net-level di­a­logues in the spheres of de­fence, fi­nance, econ­omy, trade and en­ergy. Di­a­logue be­tween the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sors of the two coun­tries was also ini­ti­ated in 2014.

Sign­ing of the ‘Mem­o­ran­dum of Co­op­er­a­tion and Ex­changes in the Field of De­fence’ dur­ing the cur­rent visit of Modi has been an im­por­tant step that also in­sti­tu­tion­alised bi­lat­eral mar­itime ex­er­cises, Ja­pan’s con­tin­ued par­tic­i­pa­tion in In­dia-US Mal­abar se­ries of ex­er­cises, and ex­ist­ing di­a­logue, mech­a­nism and joint ex­er­cises be­tween In­dian and Ja­panese Coast Guards. Modi wel­comed Ja­pan’s cur­rent pol­icy on trans­fer of de­fence equip­ment and tech­nol­ogy that has enor­mous po­ten­tial for trans­fer and col­lab­o­ra­tive projects in de­fence equip­ment and tech­nol­ogy be­tween the two coun­tries. Al­ready, In­dia and Ja­pan have Joint Work­ing Group on co­op­er­a­tion in US-2 am­phib­ian air­craft and its tech­nol­ogy. The two Prime Min­is­ters di­rected re­spec­tive of­fi­cials to launch work­ing-level con­sul­ta­tions be­tween the two coun­tries with a view to pro­mot­ing de­fence equip­ment and tech­nol­ogy co­op­er­a­tion.

It is not much known that Ja­pan had un­of­fi­cially of­fered the am­phib­ian plane to In­dia dur­ing 1996 not as out­right sale but as part of co­op­er­a­tion in dis­as­ters on high seas, res­cue and against seaborne ter­ror­ism. In fact, the pro­posal was that such air­craft could be based in An­daman and Ni­co­bar Is­lands and could be op­er­ated jointly by In­dia and Ja­pan. No costs other than shar­ing op­er­at­ing costs were in­volved. That In­dia did not re­spond is no sur­prise as lack of strate­gic sense was never found want­ing ever since in­de­pen­dence other than oc­ca­sional bright spots like the lib­er­a­tion of Bangladesh.

Ja­pan is well ad­vanced in the high-tech­nol­ogy area, in­clud­ing de­fence tech­nol­ogy lat­ter op­ti­mised through the pri­vate in­dus­try, some­thing that In­dia needs to em­u­late. The FSX or F2 fighter bomber air­craft had been de­vel­oped by Ja­pan way back in 1996 based on F-16 air­frame and was an im­prove­ment of the lat­ter. In­ter­est­ingly, the air­craft parts were de­vel­oped in two dif­fer­ent Ja­panese com­pa­nies and as­sem­bled in the third one – all pri­vate com­pa­nies. At one time com­plete com­mu­ni­ca­tion equip­ment on board Chi­nese naval ships and ves­sels was Ja­panese. Sig­nif­i­cantly, Ja­pan’s Min­istry of In­ter­na­tional Trade and In­dus­try (MITI) is the most pow­er­ful amongst all min­istries in Ja­pan. Ja­pan is also ad­vanced in cy­ber war­fare and pro­duc­tion of com­pli­cated elec­tronic chips, and Ja­pan is also a par­tic­i­pant in the US mis­sile de­fence pro­gramme. The po­ten­tial of Ja­pan’s mil­i­tary in­dus­trial com­plex is quite high. In­dia is the ac­knowl­edged leader in soft­ware and In­dia and Ja­panese space pro­grammes have also been in­ter­act­ing and co­op­er­at­ing with each other for past sev­eral years.

The fact that aero­space and the elec­tro­mag­netic do­mains are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­por­tant in asym­met­ric and con­ven­tional con­flict high­lights the need to in­crease fo­cus of co­op­er­a­tion in this field as well. In­dia-Ja­pan co­op­er­a­tion has a high po­ten­tial as both coun­tries are also work­ing to­wards con­clud­ing the Agree­ment for Co­op­er­a­tion in the Peace­ful Uses of Nu­clear En­ergy at an early date. Ja­pan has freed six In­dian space and de­fence-re­lated en­ti­ties from Ja­pan’s For­eign End User List. Prime Min­is­ter Modi’s em­pha­sis to re­duce de­fence im­ports and pro­gress­ing in­di­geni­sa­tion in­clud­ing through ab­sorb­ing for­eign de­fence tech­nol­ogy cou­pled with trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy. Ja­pan has al­ready agreed to sup­ply ShinMaywa US-2 Ja­panese am­phibi­ous air­craft de­signed for sea-air res­cue op­er­a­tions to In­dia. The US-2 is a 43-tonne am­phib­ian equipped with four tur­bo­prop en­gines and is ca­pa­ble of lifting off from high seas up to 5 points on the scale. How­ever, it will be mod­ernised to suit In­dian re­quire­ments in con­junc­tion with In­dian spe­cial­ists and will be named US2i. In­dia plans to buy 15 x US2i air­craft, first two of which will be as­sem­bled in Ja­pan and bal­ance in In­dia with com­po­nents sup­plied from Ja­pan. In­dia is also eye­ing im­port of sub­marines that could be fit­ted with Brah­Mos mis­siles and Ja­pan will likely re­spond to as and when a global ten­der is floated by In­dia.

If the above con­trib­utes to “achhe din” for de­fence and se­cu­rity, that is not all. The In­dia–Ja­pan In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Part­ner­ship is aimed at dou­bling Ja­pan’s FDI in In­dia and the num­ber of Ja­panese com­pa­nies in In­dia within five years fur­ther ex­pand­ing bi­lat­eral trade re­la­tion­ship to the next stage; Ja­pan to re­alise 3.5 tril­lion yen of pub­lic and pri­vate in­vest­ment and fi­nanc­ing in­clud­ing the Of­fi­cial De­vel­op­ment As­sis­tance (ODA) loan to In­dia in five years to fi­nance pub­lic-pri­vate projects like next-gen­er­a­tion in­fra­struc­ture, con­nec­tiv­ity, trans­port sys­tems, smart ci­ties, re­ju­ve­nat­ing Ganges and other rivers, man­u­fac­tur­ing, clean en­ergy, skill de­vel­op­ment, wa­ter se­cu­rity, food pro­cess­ing and agro in­dus­try, agri­cul­tural cold chain, and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment. Ja­pan pledged ODA loan of 50 bil­lion yen to In­dia for such pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship in­fra­struc­ture project in In­dia; set­ting up of Elec­tron­ics In­dus­trial Parks and Ja­pan In­dus­trial Town­ships un­der pre­vail­ing poli­cies like Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone and Na­tional In­vest­ment and Man­u­fac­tur­ing Zone; im­prove business en­vi­ron­ment in In­dia, in­clud­ing through tax, ad­min­is­tra­tive and fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tions.

Spe­cial em­pha­sis on Ja­pan’s co­op­er­a­tion for en­hanced con­nec­tiv­ity and de­vel­op­ment in North­east In­dia and link­ing the re­gion to other eco­nomic cor­ri­dors in In­dia and to South­east Asia; re­newal of her­itage ci­ties in­clud­ing Varanasi and part­ner­ship city ar­range­ment be­tween Varanasi and Ky­oto; com­ple­tion of Joint Fea­si­bil­ity Study on High Speed Rail­way sys­tem on Ahmed­abad-Mumbai route; re­view progress of on­go­ing flag­ship projects of In­dia-Ja­pan eco­nomic part­ner­ship like Western Ded­i­cated Freight Cor­ri­dor (DFC), Delhi-Mumbai In­dus­trial Cor­ri­dor (DMIC), Chen­nai-Ben­galuru In­dus­trial Cor­ri­dor (CBIC). To strengthen en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion through the In­dia–Ja­pan En­ergy Di­a­logue in­clud­ing in oil and gas, LNG and clean coal tech­nol­ogy, agree­ment on com­mer­cial con­tract for man­u­fac­tur­ing and sup­ply of rare earth chlo­rides from In­dia to Ja­pan. Em­pha­sis was also laid on co­op­er­a­tion in ed­u­ca­tion, cul­ture, sports, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy in­clud­ing cut­ting-edge fields like stem cell re­search, ma­te­rial sci­ence, cog­ni­tive sci­ence, ap­plied math­e­mat­ics, com­put­ing and in­for­ma­tion sci­ence, ocean tech­nol­ogy and ocean ob­ser­va­tions, clean and re­new­able en­ergy, wa­ter tech­nol­ogy, cli­mate change sci­ence, outer space and ICT.

Equal em­pha­sis was laid for a closer and stronger strate­gic part­ner­ship (in­clud­ing mu­tual con­sul­ta­tions for par­tic­i­pa­tion in re­gional and global fo­rums) con­sid­ered in­dis­pens­able for a pros­per­ous fu­ture for both coun­tries in in­ter­est of ad­vanc­ing peace, sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity in Asia-Pa­cific, the In­dian Ocean re­gion and the world by en­gag­ing with for­eign coun­tries to ad­dress re­gional chal­lenges, deepen re­gional co­op­er­a­tion and in­te­gra­tion, strengthen re­gional eco­nomic and se­cu­rity fo­rums and pro­mote peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of dis­putes.

Both con­demned ter­ror­ism in all its forms and man­i­fes­ta­tions, ir­re­spec­tive of their per­pe­tra­tors, ori­gin and mo­ti­va­tions, em­plac­ing that the evolv­ing character of ter­ror­ism called for stronger in­ter­na­tional part­ner­ship in com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism, in­clud­ing through in­creased shar­ing of in­for­ma­tion and in­tel­li­gence. Co­op­er­a­tion was also pledged for In­dia to be­come a full mem­ber in the four in­ter­na­tional ex­port con­trol regimes: Nu­clear Sup­pli­ers Group, Mis­sile Tech­nol­ogy Con­trol Regime, Wasse­naar Ar­range­ment and Aus­tralia Group, with the aim of strength­en­ing in­ter­na­tional non-pro­lif­er­a­tion ef­forts. On bal­ance, the Tokyo Dec­la­ra­tion is very much har­bin­ger of

achhe din, which has the po­ten­tial to cat­a­pult both In­dia and Ja­pan to their right­ful place in the comity of na­tions ush­er­ing in peace and pros­per­ity for the In­dian and Ja­panese peo­ple. Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe has al­ready ac­cepted Prime Min­is­ter Modi’s invitation to visit In­dia next year. So, 2015 should see fur­ther progress in the-Ja­pan Spe­cial Strate­gic and Global Part­ner­ship in­clud­ing per­haps con­clu­sion of the Agree­ment for Co­op­er­a­tion in the Peace­ful Uses of Nu­clear En­ergy be­tween the two coun­tries dur­ing 2015 visit.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Prime Min­is­ter of Ja­pan, Shinzo Abe at the Re­stricted Meet­ing at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo

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