Annual India-Japan Summit

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    In News

    • Recently, the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met for the Annual India-Japan Summit.

    Key Highlights of the Visit

    • About: 
      • The two Prime ministers largely focused on significantly boosting cooperation in areas of clean energy, semiconductors and co-development of military hardware besides exploring ways to deal with regional security challenges amidst the increasing assertiveness of China.
      • Both nations vowed to work together to deal with pressing global challenges under India’s presidency of the G20 and Japan’s chairship of the G7 grouping.
    • Indo-Japan Year of Tourism:
      • 2023 has been announced as the India-Japan year of tourism.
      • The Japanese PM formally invited the Indian PM to the G7 Hiroshima Summit which was accepted.
    • Free and open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) policy:
      • The Japanese Prime Minister unveiled his plan for a “free and open Indo-Pacific” with a focus on India’s increasingly significant role in the region.
      • Japan announced $75 billion to bolster Japan’s free and open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) policy. Japan would mobilise a total of more than $75 billion in public and private funds in the Indo-Pacific region by 2030 in infrastructure “and grow together with other countries.
      • The core principles of the FOIP like defending freedom and rule of law and respecting diversity, inclusiveness, and openness, remained relevant in the current environment.
      • They announced the “new” four pillars of FOIP. They are: 
        • The principles for peace and rules for prosperity: It includes respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and opposition to unilateral changes to the status quo by force. 
        • Addressing challenges in an Indo-Pacific way: This pillar emphasizes cooperation to face increasing challenges to global commons such as climate and the environment, global health, and cyberspace in addition to dealing with the fundamental challenge of defending peace.  Japan decided to provide 50 million US dollars in emergency food aid to support vulnerable countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as corn seeds and other assistance to vulnerable farmers in Ukraine. 
        • Multi-layered connectivity: It is the core element of cooperation for FOIP. It is considered important for economic growth.  He indicated that Japan would focus on three regions. The first area is Southeast Asia. He remarked that the ASEAN Outlook for Indo-Pacific and Japan’s FOIP have similarities. Kishida assured that Japan will make a new contribution of 100 million US dollars to the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund. The second area is South Asia with special focus on Northeast India. He stated that Japan will promote the Bay of Bengal-Northeast India industrial value chain concept in cooperation with India and Bangladesh to foster the growth of the entire region. The third area is the Pacific Islands region, which is facing multiple challenges. He averred that Japan will continue to support the countries in this region. 
        • Extending efforts for security and safe use of the sea to the air: The aim is to free the oceans from the growing geopolitical risks. In this, Japan places importance on the fact that states should clarify their claims based on international law, no use of force or coercion, and settlement of disputes by peaceful means. Japan assured help to strengthen the maritime law enforcement capabilities of each country through human resource development, strengthening cooperation among coast guard agencies, and joint training with the coast guards of other countries. 
    • Loan for Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail:
      • On the sidelines of the talks, a note was exchanged between the two sides concerning the provision of the fourth tranche of a Japanese loan of up to 300 billion yen (around Rs 18,000 crore) for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail.
    • On Ukraine’s conflict:  
      • Japan referred to the Ukraine conflict seven times as it condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine saying Moscow’s aggression had “obliged” the world to face the most fundamental challenge of defending peace.

    India- Japan Relations

    • About:
      • Ties between India and Japan have been further strengthened over the past year after a lull during the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • Historical:
      • The friendship between India and Japan has a long history rooted in spiritual affinity and strong cultural and civilization ties dating back to the visit of Indian monk Bodhisena in 752 AD. 
      • In contemporary times, among prominent Indians  associated with Japan were Swami Vivekananda, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore,  JRD Tata, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Judge Radha Binod Pal.
    • Diplomatic:
      • India and Japan established diplomatic relations in 1952.The year 2022 marks the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Diplomatic Relations between Japan and India. 
      • In the first decade after diplomatic ties were established, several high-level exchanges took place, including the Japanese Prime Minister’s visit to India in 1957.
      • Japan was among the few countries that bailed India out of the balance of payment crisis in 1991.
      • The Act East Forum, established in 2017, aims to provide a platform for India-Japan collaboration under the rubric of India’s “Act East Policy” and Japan’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision”.
    • Economic and Commercial relations:
      • Economic relations between India and Japan have vast potential for growth, given  the complementarities that exist between the two Asian economies.
      • Japan’s  interest in India is increasing due to a variety of reasons including India’s large  and growing market and its resources, especially the human resources. 
      • The India Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) came into  force in August 2011.
      • It  is the most comprehensive of all such agreements concluded  by India and covers not only trade in goods but also Services, Movement of  Natural Persons, Investments, Intellectual Property Rights, Custom Procedures  and other trade related issues.
      • Japan has been extending bilateral loan and grant assistance to India since 1958,  and is the largest bilateral donor for India.
      • The Japanese ODA supports India’s efforts for accelerated economic development particularly in priority areas like power, transportation, environmental projects and projects related to basic human needs. For example
        • New Delhi metro network.
        • The Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC),
        • the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor with eight new industrial townships,
        • the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC)
      • Japan’s bilateral trade with India totalled US$ 20.57 billion during FY 2021-22. Japan’s exports to India were 2.35% of India’s total imports and India’s exports to Japan were 1.46% of India’s total exports. 
    • Defense Relations: 
      • India-Japan Defence and Security partnership has evolved over the years and forms an integral pillar of the bilateral ties. 
      • India and Japan defence forces organise a series of bilateral exercises namely, JIMEX, SHINYUU Maitri, and Dharma Guardian. Both countries also participate in the Malabar exercise with the USA.
      • There are also various frameworks of security and defence dialogue between Japan and India including the “2+2” meeting
    •  Quad alliance:
      • Both India and Japan have been expanding cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region bilaterally as well as under the framework of the Quad grouping. 
        • Quad is an informal strategic dialogue between India, the USA, Japan and Australia with a shared objective to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.
    • Indian Diaspora:
      • In recent years, there has been a change in the composition of the Indian community with the arrival of a large number of professionals, including IT professionals and engineers working for Indian and Japanese firms.
    • Science & Technology:
      • India-Japan Digital Partnership (IJDP) was launched during the visit of PM Modi to Japan in October 2018 furthering existing areas of cooperation as well as new initiatives within the scope of cooperation in S&T/ICT.
      • India and Japan are working together on a joint lunar polar exploration (LUPEX) mission that aims to send a lander and rover to the Moon’s South Pole around 2024.

    Challenges

    • The trade ties which have remained underdeveloped when compared to India’s trade ties with China. And, limited success of CEPA. 
    • Both India and Japan have differences of interests like, Japan opposes India’s exit from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
    • Both countries have border and hegemonic issues with China. So their policy stance hinges generally on China, rather than growing comprehensively.
    • Pending Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train Project. 

    Way Ahead

    • In order to maintain stronger ties between India and Japan, there is a need to engage in more domains like establishing a safe and reliable 5G network and submarine cables.
    • Further, in the economic domain, both the countries can work on strengthening industrial competitiveness which would also help the supply chain network. Japan should look at more ways to accept specified skilled workers from India and help boost the digitalization process in Japan by using the Indian IT Professionals skills.
    • India and Japan must work on building better space technology and exchange along with work in the domain of electromagnetic fields. Both the countries can cooperate more in India’s Northeast region and develop more connectivity projects which would also help in the increase in better relations with the Southeast Asian countries.

    Source: TH