In­dia is im­por­tant to Ja­pan due to its demo­cratic val­ues, large source of man­power, strong eco­nomic growth and its geopo­lit­i­cal im­por­tant lo­ca­tion in the cen­tre of the SLoCs in the In­dian ocean-Pa­cific re­gion


In­dia is im­por­tant to Ja­pan due to its demo­cratic val­ues, large source of man­power, strong eco­nomic growth and its geopo­lit­i­cal im­por­tant lo­ca­tion in the cen­tre of the SLOCs in the In­dian Ocean-Pa­cific Re­gion.

Lt Gen­eral Naresh Chand (Retd)

JA­PAN HAd rE­LEASEd ItS first white pa­per on de­fence un­der Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe on July 9, 2013, which was high on na­tion­al­ism and stressed the need to de­velop Ja­pan’s de­fence forces so that they are ca­pa­ble of guard­ing the in­ter­ests of the na­tion. the up­dat­ing or mod­i­fy­ing the ex­ist­ing laws and or­gan­i­sa­tion was also be car­ried out wher­ever nec­es­sary to meet na­tional se­cu­rity ob­jec­tives. Be­ing an is­land na­tion, all as­pects of mar­itime se­cu­rity are of paramount im­por­tance to Ja­pan in or­der to guard its ter­ri­to­rial in­ter­est, mar­itime trade and en­ergy se­cu­rity con­cerns. Ja­pan thus wants to take a lead­ing role in main­tain­ing and de­vel­op­ing free and safer mar­itime en­vi­ron­ment, take nec­es­sary steps to counter threats to sea lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tions (SLoCs) and en­hance bi­lat­eral/ mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion on mar­itime se­cu­rity. Ac­cord­ingly, Ja­pan wants to strengthen its re­la­tions with the repub­lic of Korea, ASEAN ( As­so­ci­a­tion of South East Asian Na­tions) and In­dia.

Ja­pan’s lat­est white pa­per on de­fence was re­leased on Au­gust 5, 2014, which is fo­cused on its mar­itime con­cerns spe­cially of China’s ac­tiv­i­ties in the East China Sea (ECS). Briefly the white pa­per called on Bei­jing to with­draw its uni­lat­eral dec­la­ra­tion of an air de­fence iden­ti­fi­ca­tion zone in the ECS. It also called for the re­trac­tion of “all mea­sures that in­ter­fere in the free­dom of fly­ing over the high seas.” Ja­pan has thus em­barked for the ac­qui­si­tion of an am­phibi­ous as­sault ship by the Mar­itime Self-de­fense Forces (SdF) which will also in­clude ves­sels which can trans­port am­phibi­ous land­ing ve­hi­cles and hov­er­crafts for op­er­a­tions in out­ly­ing is­lands.

Ja­pan is de­vel­op­ing its naval ca­pa­bil­ity ac­cord­ing to the threat it per­ceives and to safe­guard its na­tional in­ter­ests. Clas­si­cally, Ja­panese Navy’s mis­sion re­mains pro­tec­tion of sea lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and de­fence of the home­land how­ever due to the de­vel­op­ments in the ECS, Ja­pan is evolv­ing a more “dy­namic de­fence” strat­egy to sup­port uS Navy car­rier strike groups in the seas around Ja­pan. As per ex­perts, Ja­pan has been build­ing up an­ti­sub­ma­rine war­fare ca­pa­bil­i­ties for decades which in­di­rectly will help in marginally coun­ter­ing China’s anti-ac­cess/area-de­nial (A2/Ad) threats.

Ja­pan’s Mil­i­tary Ship­build­ing Ca­pa­bil­ity

Ja­pan has more than cen­tury old ship­build­ing in­dus­try. Kawasaki Heavy In­dus­tries Limited dates back to April 1878 when Shozo Kawasaki es­tab­lished Kawasaki tsuk­iji Ship­yard in tokyo. Presently it makes ships and mainly he­li­copters. The first air­craft car­rier in the world, H sh , was made by Ja­pan in 1922. Post-World War II, Ja­pan made only mer­chant ships and be­came one of the world lead­ers. the re­ces­sion in the 1970s, Ja­pan lost its edge and now China and South Korea have over­taken it. It is re­ported that In­dia has also asked Ja­pan to par­tic­i­pate in the joint de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­ture of six stealth diesel sub­marines.

ShinMaywa In­dus­tries makes world­class am­phibi­ous air­craft — uS-2i which In­dia plans to ac­quire. It has fig­ured in the talks of for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh and also dur­ing the cur­rent visit of Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi. there are other com­pa­nies in­volved with mil­i­tary ship­build­ing like Mit­subishi Heavy In­dus­tries, Ishikawa­jima-Harima Heavy In­dus­tries, and Mit­sui Ship­build­ing. Ja­pan’s ad­vanced ca­pa­bil­i­ties in space-based mar­itime sur­veil­lance and sens­ing have po­ten­tial for col­lab­o­ra­tion both for mil­i­tary as well as mer­chant ship­ping. the Marine Elec­tronic High­way is the ini­tia­tive of Ja­pan to be launched un­der the IMo, for pro­vid­ing safety mea­sures and nav­i­ga­tional aids along the sea routes spe­cially where dense sea traf­fic ex­ists like Malacca Strait.

Indo-Ja­pan Mar­itime Co­op­er­a­tion

Joint dec­la­ra­tion on Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion be­tween In­dia and Ja­pan. In­dia is im­por­tant to Ja­pan due to its demo­cratic val­ues, large source of man­power, strong eco­nomic growth and its geopo­lit­i­cal im­por­tant lo­ca­tion in the cen­tre of the SLoCs in the In­dian Ocean-Pa­cific Re­gion. In­dia’s re­la­tions with Ja­pan are very old due to the spread­ing of Bud­dhism from In­dia to Ja­pan. Eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion was ini­ti­ated dur­ing 1958 with an Of­fi­cial De­vel­op­ment As­sis­tance (ODA) loan which was a first for Ja­pan and over a pe­riod of time In­dia has be­come one of the largest re­cip­i­ents of odA from Ja­pan.

the most pop­u­lar in­fra­struc­ture project to have been funded by Ja­pan is the delhi Metro. 2007 was de­clared as ‘In­dia-Ja­pan Friend­ship Year.’ this was a pre­lude to co­op­er­a­tion in de­fence and se­cu­rity re­lated is­sues. the process started with a ‘Joint dec­la­ra­tion on Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion be­tween In­dia and Ja­pan’ on oc­to­ber 22, 2008, be­tween the for- mer Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh’s and the then Prime Min­is­ter of Ja­pan taro Aso, dur­ing the for­mer’s visit to Ja­pan. the dec­la­ra­tion cov­ered a whole range of is­sues like com­mon com­mit­ment to democ­racy, open so­ci­ety, hu­man rights and the rule of law; fight­ing ter­ror­ism; cre­at­ing a com­pre­hen­sive frame­work for the en­hance­ment of se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion and so on. Briefly the mar­itime is­sues in­cluded are as fol­lows:

●● In­dia and Ja­pan share com­mon in­ter­est in the safety of SLoCs.

●● Af­firm­ing their com­mon com­mit­ment to fight against ter­ror­ism and recog­nis­ing that counter-ter­ror­ism ef­forts by In­dia and Ja­pan.

●● In­for­ma­tion ex­change and pol­icy co­or­di­na­tion on re­gional af­fairs in the Asi­aPa­cific re­gion and in the long-term on strate­gic and global is­sues.

●● Navy-to-Navy staff talks.

●● the two Coast Guards will con­tinue to pro­mote co­op­er­a­tion to en­sure mar­itime safety.

●● In re­la­tion to the safety of trans­port, Ship­ping Pol­icy Fo­rum will be con­ducted be­tween Mar­itime Au­thor­i­ties and pri­vate sec­tors.

●●dis­as­ter man­age­ment.

●● Ser­vice-to-ser­vice ex­changes in­clud­ing bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral ex­er­cises.

●●Ex­change of stu­dents and re­searchers from re­spec­tive de­fence in­sti­tu­tions.

●● Co­op­er­a­tion to de­velop tsunami dis­as­ter Map in In­dia.

For im­ple­ment­ing the above, In­dia and Ja­pan will de­velop an ac­tion plan with spe­cific mea­sures to ad­vance se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion in the above ar­eas and re­port to the Prime Min­is­ters at an early date. For­mer uS Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton had urged New delhi “not just to look East but also to en­gage East and act East as well.”

Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe in an ear­lier ten­ure had prop­a­gated a doc­trine of “con­flu­ence of two seas” and syn­ergy among “mar­itime democ­ra­cies” in Asia. In­dia has been grad­u­ally build­ing on it with ba­sic mea­sures like ex­change of visit of naval of­fi­cers, par­tic­i­pat­ing in each other’s mar­itime think tanks, In­dian and Ja­panese navies jointly par­tic­i­pat­ing in mul­ti­lat­eral ex­er­cises (Mal­abar se­ries) and bi­lat­eral ex­er­cise (JIMEX12). An­other Ja­panese ini­tia­tive has been the mul­ti­lat­eral ef­fort bring­ing in­ter­na­tional coast guards to­gether through the re­gional Co­op­er­a­tion Agree­ment on Com­bat­ing Piracy and Armed rob­bery against Ships in Asia (reCAAP).

In­dia Coast Guard has been par­tic­i­pat­ing in it and hav­ing reg­u­lar ex­er­cises with Ja­pan In­dia is also plan­ning to in­duct ShinMaywa’s am­phib­ian air­craft US-2i which has fig­ured in the talks with both the Prime Min­is­ters. there is also scope for ac­quir­ing tech­nol­ogy in de­fence elec­tron­ics, space and AIP­ca­pable So­ryu class sub­marines as In­dia is plan­ning to de­sign and man­u­fac­ture six sub­marines in­dige­nously but with for­eign tech­nol­ogy where re­quired. In 2014 the Ja­panese Gov­ern­ment pro­mul­gated a new de­fence ex­port pol­icy, lift­ing bans that had been in place for nearly 30 years. As in­au­gu­rated by the Abe ad­min­is­tra­tion, Ja­pan’s new de­fence ex­port pol­icy of­fers huge op­por­tu­ni­ties for Indo-Ja­pan de­fence in­dus­trial co­op­er­a­tion.

Re­cent De­vel­op­ments

dur­ing Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s visit to Ja­pan in Novem­ber 11, 2016, he told the re­porters that, “Ja­pan oc­cu­pies an ex­tremely high po­si­tion in our for­eign pol­icy. the rea­son is Ja­pan has played a very im­por­tant role in the de­vel­op­ment and growth of In­dia.” the de­vel­op­ment in mar­itime co­op­er­a­tion un­der Modi and Abe has pro­gressed in a very vis­i­ble man­ner. Both the Prime Min­is­ters agreed to work harder to launch a “two-plus-two” se­cu­rity con­sul­ta­tive frame­work in­volv­ing their For­eign and de­fence Min­is­ters. Abe talked about a “Free and Open Indo-Pa­cific Strat­egy” and Modi wel­comed Ja­pan’s deep­en­ing en­gage­ments un­der this strat­egy. they also agreed to con­tinue joint mar­itime ex­er­cises in ad­di­tion to tri­lat­eral drills con­ducted with the uS on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. the two lead­ers agreed to speed up dis­cus­sions on the con­di­tions for Ja­pan to sup­ply mar­itime search and rescue air­craft to In­dia, a deal which is be­ing discussed for many years.

In­dia and Ja­pan have pre­vi­ously out­lined an in­ter­est in boost­ing in­fra­struc­ture in the strate­gi­cally lo­cated An­daman and Ni­co­bar Is­lands. this in­cludes plans for “smart is­lands” in the Indo-Pa­cific re­gion but there is no clar­ity on the con­tours of these smart is­lands. Abe said it all when ear­lier he had stated that “the aim should be that sooner rather than later, Ja­pan’s Navy and the In­dian Navy are seam­lessly in­ter­con­nected.” In­dia and Ja­pan’s con­cerns and op­por­tu­ni­ties con­verge in the In­dian ocean and out­ward into the larger Indo-Pa­cific. In­dia’s reach in the In­dian ocean re­gion and co­op­er­a­tion with Ja­pan pro­vides In­dia an op­por­tu­nity to cast its foot­print on the Indo-Pa­cific re­gion.


Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi with Prime Min­is­ter of Ja­pan, Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Ja­pan on Novem­ber 11, 2016

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