India – Japan Relations

India – Japan 

India – Japan relations have taken a new turn with the Japan visiting India this month. This is what the Head of the Delegation and the host India had to say about each other.

No partner has played such a decisive role in India’s economic transformation as Japan. No friend will matter more in realizing India’s economic dreams than Japan.”….Modi

“Strong India is good for Japan and a strong Japan is good for India”…. Abe

Shinzo Abe’s India visit came in less than two years of Japanese Emperor’s visit in 2013- highlighting the importance that India – Japan relations and what it means to India.

Context: Very strategic – Both India and Japan face severe challenges from China, which makes India – Japan relations a high priority to both the countries

  • India-China boundary dispute and Diaoyu/Senkaku islands dispute in East China Sea
  • Heightened maritime challenges at South China Sea (China’s land reclamation activities) and Indian Ocean Region (String of Pearls, China’s Maritime Silk Road Initiative).

To counter-balance growing China: Pledge to uphold

  • Sovereignty and territorial integrity;
  • Peaceful settlement of disputes;
  • Democracy, human rights and rule of law;
  • Open global trade regime; and
  • Freedom of navigation and over flight.

Significance Diversification from Economic centric to defence and security ties:


  • $15 billion high-speed Japanese Shinkansen bullet train deal connecting Mumbai- Ahmadabad – Japan offers $12 billion soft loan at 0.1 per cent interest rate with repayment over 50 years and 15 years moratorium. (Indian bid: Japan ousted China)
  • “Make in India”: Japan pledged $12 billion to fund the initiative and build industrial townships in India strengthening the India – Japan relations
  • Collaboration for Smart City Projects

Civil-nuclear energy agreement:

  • Boost India’s economic growth as this will quadruple India’s present 5,000 megawatts of nuclear power to 20,000 megawatts by 2020 – satisfying energy demands for economic outgrowth.

Defence and security ties:

  • Japan now an official partner in India-US Malabar Exercises (To counter maritime challenges in Indo-Pacific and countering China’s increasing unilateral moves in South China Sea, an important Sea lane of Communication (SLOC) along the Straits of Malacca).
  • Transfer of defence equipment and technology and exchange of other security measures for protection of classified military information (strengthening strategic ties further).
  • Moreover, collaboration in fields of infrastructure, manufacturing and high technology, including advanced transportation systems, solar power generation, space, biotechnology, rare earths and advanced materials are other highlights of the India – Japan relations

Cultural quotient:

  • Ganga Arti at Varanasi
  • Spiritual connect that India – Japan envisage over Buddhism


  • From bilateral to qualitative: Vajpayee – Koizumi Agreement (2001) on “India – Japan Global Partnership”- aiming at meeting global challenges.
  • “Special Strategic Global Partnership” in 2014 between India – Japan
  • A new high of “Special Strategic and Global Partnership” in 2015.

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