India-Japan Relations

India-Japan Relations

This article deals with ‘India-Japan Relations.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


Till Independence

  • Buddhism in Japan dates back to 538 AD
  • Rabindranath Tagore met Okakura Kakuza
  • SC Bose sought Japan’s help in his fight against Britishers
  • The sole dissenting voice of Judge Radha Binod Pal at the War Crimes Tribunal struck a deep chord among the Japanese public that continues to reverberate to this day

During Cold War

  • After 1952 , US & Japan signed security agreement where US took responsibility of Japanese security &  Japan was not allowed to have military too
  • Indo – Japanese relations started with upbeat like Japanese PM visit to India in 1957 & Nehru’s return visit + Japanese crown Prince Akihito’s visit to India taking relations to highest level
  • But later, Cold war started to impact relations and nothing substantive came out till fall of USSR barring Suzuki’s investment 

1990 – 1998

  • Two events had marked impact & these  were 
    • Fall of USSR leading to end of cold war
    • Process of Liberalisation started in India
  • Japanese Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) started  to flow which helped to plug the gaps in economic development
  • 1991: Japan was among the few countries that bailed India out of the BoP crisis
  • 1993: Narsimha Rao’s Look East policy started &  played important role in shaping ties with Japan
  • Till 1998, bonhomie was seen in bilateral relations between India & Japan

Pokharan II Nuclear Explosion & Japanese Reaction

  • Nuclear tests were conducted during  Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime  in 1998
  • Japan is very sensitive towards nuclear test & weapons because of her past experience
  • Japan completely froze ties with India . All the aid & loans that  Japan was giving were cancelled 
  • Lowest point in bilateral relations & pressurised India to roll back its program

Beginning of New Era

  • PM Yoshiro Mori  visited India in 2000 & signed a Landmark treaty ‘ Global Partnership in 21st Centuary ‘.  Subsequently sanctions were lifted in 2001
  • India is the only country with which Japan has  Annual Summit Meetings alternating between  Delhi & Tokyo 
  • 2011: conclusion of CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement)
  • 2017 Visit Ahmadabad : Shinkansen / Bullet Train funded by Japanese Funds inaugurated by Shinzo Abe

Different Aspects in Indo-Japan Relations

Export -Import

  • CEPA signed in 2011 => bilateral trade increased due to this
  • Trade – $20 billion

Japanese FDI

  • Japan is the 4th largest investor in India
  • 1800 Japanese companies are operating in India
  • Modi  has setup “Japan+  Team” in PMO, to help Japanese investors

Largest Donor

  • Japan is the largest development assistance donor & 30% of the total ODA from Japan comes to India
  • Some projects funded by Japan
    • New Delhi metro network. 
    • Mumbai -Ahmadabad High Speed Rail
    •  Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC),
  • Outside India- Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGR)  will be taken jointly.

Currency Swap

  • (2019) – $75 billion currency swap that Japan Offered to India => in time of emergency, India can get $ 75 billion in dollars or yen in return for rupees.

Nuclear Agreement Signed

  • Japan and India reached broad agreement in Dec 2015 on Civil Nuclear Cooperation

Indian diaspora

  • Merchants settling since 1870 . Number increased during WW I when Japanese goods were sought to fill the void of European goods.
  • In recent years, there has been a change in the composition of the Indian community with the arrival of a large number of professionals:
    • IT professionals & engineers working for Indian & Japanese firms
    • professionals in management, finance, education, and S&T research
  • Nishikasai area in Tokyo is emerging as “mini-India”.

Rare Earth Metals

  • India will supply rare earth metals to  Japan– for making defence and high tech electronics.
  • At present, China is the biggest producer of rare earth 

Security Issues

Ensuring freedom of navigation in Indo-Pacific region.

Chinese Treat

  • Assertive China threat to both
    • China vs Japan : Scars of old rivalry + Conflict over Senkaku island  
    • China vs India : Aksai Chin + Arunachal Pradesh + String of Pearls in Indian ocean

Malabar Exercise

  • Annual India, US & Japan naval exercise to ensure freedom of navigaion

Japanese help in Strategic Infrastructure Building

  • Japan  helping India to build roads & other critical  infrastructure in NE 
  • Investing  in Andaman & Nicobar 

US-2 Amphibious Aircraft

  • India is planning to buy US-2 Ambhibious Aircraft from Japan
  • Amphibian aircraft meaning it can land both on land as well as water.
  • This will be the first time since WW2, that Japan will make an overseas military sale

India & Japan complement each other

  • Japan has ageing population & India has young population (team from Japan came to attract youth from IITs to work in Japan)
  • They have surplus capital & we need capital
  • India has resources , they have technology
  • India’s prowess in services and Japan’s excellence in manufacturing

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