This e-book is a compilation of the papers presented by the speakers during a two-day International Conference, curated around the theme ‘India and Japan: Growing Partnership and Opportunities for Cooperation’, organised by CPPR – Centre for Strategic Studies, Kochi in collaboration with the Consulate-General of Japan in Chennai on February 26–27, 2019 at Riviera Suites in Kochi. It consists of eight chapters providing a comprehensive outlook on India-Japan relations.
Kochi, located in the fulcrum of the Arabian Sea-Indian Ocean confluence provided the perfect venue of this conference, lending an apt background for maritime-peninsular perspective of India-Japan relations and cooperation.
Over 80 participants and 15 speakers took part in the conference where economic and security implications of Asia-Pacific transformation, India-Japan maritime visions in Asia Pacific, India-Japan Partnership in information age, trade and investment, etc. were key topics of discussion. The theme of the conference opened important vistas on the subject in view of the new imperatives in Indian and Pacific Ocean regions as maritime basis of “Confluence” — cooperation of India and Japan in the coming decades.
International affairs analyst Dr Kanti Prasad Bajpai, Wilmar Professor of Asian Studies, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, delivered the keynote address. He pointed out the converging national interests of India and Japan and analysed the strategic choices in front of them in the context of China’s rise and the US’s erratic behaviour. He highlighted upon the soft balancing against China through India-Japan partnership as the most viable strategy for both countries in the foreseeable future. He also stressed on the need for India and Japan to create and sustain new institutions and forms of Asian strategic cooperation.
Dr Amrita Jash, Associate Fellow, Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) New Delhi, in the chapter India, Japan and the AAGC: Geopolitics Driven by Infrastructure Investment, examines how India and Japan are maneuvering their act of soft balancing against China-led BRI through their own AAGC. The chapter moves on to compare and contrast AAGC with China-led BRI. Considering the fact that both have economics as substance and geo-politics as purpose, quality of infrastructure investments as opposed to quantity will be the major bargaining point for AAGC over BRI.
Gazi Hassan, Senior Research Associate, Centre for Public Policy Research, Kochi, in the chapter China Factor in India-Japan Relations, analyses how the assertiveness of China in the Asia-Pacific region is changing the geopolitics and the regional security architecture. The chapter traces the evolution of India-Japan relations through a rough past with a remarkable change occurring post US signing the civil nuclear deal in 2005. It argues that China remains common concern for the region that led to the coming together of India, Japan, US and Australia forming a Quadrilateral alliance to balance its growing influence.
Dr H S Prabhakar, former Professor, Centre for East Asian Studies, JNU, New Delhi, in the chapter India Japan Economic Relations, traces the evolution of Japan from a traditional economy to a fully advanced economy of 21st century driven by technological innovation. The chapter highlights Modi-Abe equation as a harbinger of good times for economy of both the nations. It also talks about the trade and partnership that is yet to attain its full potential. The chapter stresses on the need to envision India-Japan partnership keeping in mind the global priorities rather than the bilateral ones.
Dr Josukutty C A, Assistant Professor and Honorary Director, Survey Research Centre, Department of Political Science, Kerala University, Thiruvananthapuram, in the chapter The Maritime Transformation of Asia-Pacific: Interdependence and Security: Indian and Japanese Visions, talks about the structural changes underway in the Asia-Pacific that has found India and Japan converging in geo-political, strategic and geo-economic domain. The chapter deals with the Japanese advocacy of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, India’s Look/Act East Policy and their allegiance to the US driven Quadrilateral (QUAD) schemes, confluent liberal and realist visions and interests for a rule-based, stable and prosperous maritime domain in the Asia-Pacific. It further talks about the practical possibility of India and Japan convergence in the military domain, which is limited in comparison to the economic and other symbolic aspects.
Dr Madhuchanda Ghosh, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Presidency University, Kolkata, in the chapter India and Japan: New Partners in the Emerging Regionalism in East Asia, talks about India and Japan as new partners in the Emerging Regionalism in East Asia. She argues that for the first time in history, India and Japan have simultaneously become key stakeholders in the East Asian affairs. The leaderships of the two states exhibit a broad consensus that the core interests and concerns of the two states converge. The chapter looks at the implications of India-Japan partnership for the regional project of the East Asian Summit and the regional balance of power. It also elaborates on how it can contribute to the current regionalism though the ASEAN approach.
Dr Prakash Paneerselvam, Assistant Professor, International Strategic & Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advance Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru, in the chapter Idea of Global Partnership: Role of India-Japan Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, traces the trajectory of India-Japan maritime cooperation which began in early 2000s to address non-traditional threats like natural disasters, piracy, smuggling, etc, but is gradually unfolding its strategic wings. The chapter focuses on the India-Japan idea of “global partnership”, an underlying feature on the signing of a joint declaration on Asia-Africa growth Corridor (AAGC), and the development and infrastructure activity in the Asian region, which is a major step forward to achieve the much talked about Indo-Japan dream of ‘Free, Open and Prosperous Indo-Pacific’. It also discusses the business opportunities for both countries in AAGC and the existing maritime security threats and explores the response options in African Coast.
Commodore Somen Banerjee, Senior Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation, Delhi, in the chapter Maritime Transformation in the Asia Pacific: India–Japan Security Cooperation, talks about the rise of China that has unsettled the contours of international system in the Asia-Pacific and put the rules-based order at risk. The chapter highlights the proposal to align Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy and India’s Act East Policy. It also explores the nature of maritime transformation underway in the Asia-Pacific and its impact on the maritime order. It further examines the course of India-Japan security relation under the watch of the two Prime Ministers between 2015 and 2018.
Dr Rupakjyoti Borah, Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore (NUS), in the chapter Japan-India Cooperation in the Infrastructure Sector in Northeast India: Parsing the Costs and Benefits, analyses the growing cooperation between Japan and India in the infrastructure sector in Northeast India. The chapter focuses on the challenges to Japan’s infrastructure building efforts in the region, especially given the terrain of the region and other factors. It further suggests a road map for Japan’s infrastructure-building efforts in Northeast India.