KOCHI: A two-day international conference on India and Japan began in Kochi on Tuesday with experts talking of converging national interests of two countries. The conference was curated around the theme ‘India and Japan: Growing Partnership and Opportunities for Cooperation’.

Analysing the choices before the two countries in the context of China’s rise and the US’s erratic behaviour, professor Kanti Prasad Bajpai of National University of Singapore said soft balancing against China through Indo-Japanese partnership was the most viable strategy for both countries.

Bajpai listed out soft-balancing strategies for India and Japan, including shaming tactics against China where both have criticised Beijing’s Belt Road Initiative. He also highlighted regional and multilateral arenas where India and Japan can use debates to bring attention to Chinese actions that hurt others. He stressed on the need of India and Japan to create and sustain new institutions of Asian strategic cooperation.

The conference is hosted by Centre for Strategic Studies, Centre for Public Policy Research and the Consulate General of Japan in Chennai. P K Hormis Tharakan, former RAW chief and advisor of CPPR, and Hiroko Taniguchi, deputy consul general of Japan in Chennai, were also present.

Taniguchi reiterated Japanese PM Abe’s idea of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) and looked forward to a strong partnership with India. More than 80 participants and 15 speakers are taking part in the conference.

*This news story can be also read at The Times of India’s website.

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