Bharat Japan Relations: Bharat and Japan have a long history of friendship, rooted in spiritual affinity and strong cultural and civilizational ties. The Bharatn culture, which was filtered through Buddhism, has had a profound effect on Japanese culture and has been a major reason for the affinity of the Japanese people towards Bharat.
The bilateral relationship between the two countries has been completely free from any kind of dispute – ideological or regional. The Bharat-Japan Peace Treaty was one of the first peace treaties signed by Japan after World War II.
Although Bharat and Japan have been exchanging defense-related ideas for almost two decades, and as partners in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) with the US and Australia, both the countries have shared the Indo-Pacific region. Indo-Pacific) open and open, but bilateral cooperation between them is still lacking. US-China interference in the Indo-Pacific has blocked both sides from implementing their desired strategic objectives.
Current Status of Bharat Japan Relations
Bharat-Japan defense and security partnership has evolved over the years through bilateral and multilateral exercises including ‘Dharma Guardian’ and ‘Malabar’ respectively. The participation of Japan for the first time in the MILAN exercise is also a welcome step.
Tri-service exchanges between Japan and Bharat have been institutionalized and thus a ‘triad’ has been completed. There have been regular annual exchanges between the Coast Guards of the two countries since 2006. Along with this, ‘Japan and Bharat Vision 2025 Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ has also been established between the two countries, which will work together for peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region and the world. aims to work.
Trust in Japan as a friend was tested in 1991 when Japan was one of the few major countries that helped Bharat come out of the balance of payments crisis.
Economic ties between Japan and Bharat have steadily expanded and strengthened in recent years. The volume of trade between the two countries has increased. Japan was Bharat’s 12th largest trading partner in the year 2020.
Simultaneously, there has been an increase of direct investment from Japan into Bharat and Japan was the fourth largest investor in Bharat in FY20.
Given the similarity and synergy between the goals and objectives of Bharat’s ‘Ayushman Bharat programme’ and Japan’s ‘AHWIN’ programme, the two sides agreed to identify projects to build on the AHWIN narrative for ‘Ayushman Bharat’. consulted with each other.
Investment and ODA:
Bharat has been the largest recipient of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan for the past few decades. The Delhi Metro is one of the most successful examples of Japanese collaboration through the use of ODA.
Bharat’s Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project is financed by a soft loan provided by the Japan International Corporation Agency under the ‘Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP)’.
In addition, Japan and Bharat have committed to build a high-speed railway, bringing Japan’s Shinkansen system to Bharat.
The Bharat-Japan Nuclear Agreement 2016 will help Bharat build six nuclear reactors in South Bharat, which will increase the country’s nuclear power capacity up to ten times by the year 2032.
Major obstacles in the way of Strengthening Bharat-Japan Relations
Increasing dominance of China:
China never shied away from trying to stop the rise of Bharat and Japan. In this sequence, not only has it increased military pressure on both countries, but it has been opposing their claim of permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.
Effect of Sino-US rivalry:
The intensity of the Sino-US rivalry creates chaos in the regional security of the Indo-Pacific.
The region is being militarized and an arms race is also taking shape. Military exercises and exercises are being conducted in the disputed waters which are ultimately affecting peace and prosperity for the region, especially for countries like Bharat and Japan.
Japan’s Domestic Issues:
Japan is undergoing an extensive domestic debate on the revision of its national security and defense strategies. The debate was fueled by the attack on former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Vostok 2022 is a multilateral strategic and command exercise, which will be held in seven firing ranges in the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan. More than 50,000 armed forces and more than 5,000 weapon units are participating in it.
It will include troops from several former Soviet countries, China, Bharat, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Syria.
Japan has objected to Russia’s plan for this maneuver in the area adjacent to the southern Kuril Islands (which both Japan and Russia claim).
Bharat has refrained from sending its warships in this exercise and has decided to stay away from the maritime component of Vostok-2022 to avoid hurting the sensitivity of Japan.
However, while maintaining a balanced stance, Bharat has sent a contingent of the Gorkha Regiment of the Bharatn Army for military exercises.
Way of Solution
Curb any hegemony in the Indo-Pacific:
Bharat and Japan need to adapt their military strategy and pursue a common interest to prevent the rise of any hegemony (by the US or China) in the Indo-Pacific.
Collaborating for Digital Empowerment:
With a view to upgrade digital infrastructure by promoting joint projects for digital transformation, India and Japan can join hands for digital infrastructure cooperation in various areas such as 5G, Open RAN, Telecom Network Security, Submarine Cable Systems and Quantum Communication.
Strengthening Bharat’s ‘Act East’ policy:
Bharat has always placed the ‘Indo-Pacific’ at the center of its engagement with the countries of South-East and East Asia. Bharat’s ‘Act East’ policy should be strengthened to get effective solutions to contemporary challenges.
Japan also intends to cooperate in supporting the strategic connectivity connecting South Asia to Southeast Asia through synergy between the ‘Act East’ policy and the ‘Partnership for Quality Infrastructure’.
Knowledge Exchange for Disaster Risk Reduction:
Bharat can benefit from Japan’s disaster management experience in developing disaster risk reduction policies and measures in disaster risk prone areas.
Towards a multipolar Asia:
By reshaping their Asian strategic landscape, Bharat and Japan have the potential to catalyze their rise as world powers and move forward towards an open and secure Indo-Pacific.
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