A winning combination: India - Japan Relation

21 Apr 2021

Curtain Hug

Some prominent Indian figures were also associated with Japan in contemporary times. These included Swami Vivekananda, JRD Tata, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Judge Radha Binod Pal, and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

India and Japan have always maintained cordial relations. This bilateral relationship remains free from any ideological or territorial disputes.

India and Japan established diplomatic relations on 28th April 1952. In 2000, the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori changed the relation to a “Global partnership”. In 2006, both countries began Annual summits to establish a ‘Strategic and Global partnership’.

Japanese corporate sectors show an active interest in India’s growing economy. This fosters closer ties between the two countries.

There are different avenues of growth in which Japan and India show mutual interest:

1) Economic: Japan’s interest in India is growing because of the availability of many resources in India. The bilateral trade was US$ 17.63 billion in FY 2018-19.
This trade value was US $ 11.87 billion in FY 2019-2020 (April December). A regular exchange of products exists between the two countries.
India exports petroleum products, chemicals, elements, compounds, iron &steel products to Japan. But, India’s primary imports are machinery, iron and steel products, organic chemicals, etc.

2) Investment: Japan has invested around US$ 32.058 billion from 2000 to September 2019. Most of the investment has been in the chemical, finance, telecommunications, automobile, electrical equipment, and pharmaceutical sectors. There has been a 5 percent increase in the number of Japanese companies registered in India as reported in 2018. Similarly, around 100 Indian companies are working in Japan. Japan is the largest bilateral donor for India. It has extended loans and provided grants assistance since 1958. Japanese ODA(Official Development Assistance) supports India in areas such as power, transportation, environmental and basic human needs-related projects. Japan committed a historic ODA amount of JPY 522.405 billion in the FY 2018-2019.

3) I-JDP and Startup: “India-Japan Digital Partnership” (I-JDP) is an initiative launched in October 2018 during the visit of PM Modi to Japan. It aims to further existing avenues of technologies. It also wishes to build new cooperations focused on “Digital ICT Technologies”. To promote innovative collaborations, both countries signed a joint statement on the “Japan-India Startup Initiative”. This led to the establishment of a startup hub in Bangalore by JETRO(Japan External Trade Organization). This will help in identifying potential startups and Japanese investors for the Japanese market.

4) Healthcare: India’s AYUSHMAN Bharat Programme and Japan’s AHWIN have many similarities in their goals and objectives. Thus, both sides frequently consult each other to outline projects that can build the narrative of AHWIN for AYUSHMAN Bharat. The countries are working together to build a healthcare partnership.

5) Science and Technology: An Inter-Governmental agreement signed in 1985 consolidated the cooperation in sci-tech. Some current initiatives include a) three India-Japan Joint Laboratories (AI, IoT and Big Data) b) DBT-AIST Advanced International Laboratory for Advanced Biomedicine (DAILAB) at Tsukuba, Japan c) Six SISTERs (Satellite International Institutes for Special Training Education and Research) for drug development and therapeutic diseases in India.
SAKURA Programme and HOPE meetings attracted over 570 research scholars from India. The MEXT Programme scholarship by the Japanese Government offers opportunities to pursue higher education in Japan. This attracts many students from India to Japan for their studies. Thus promoting cultural and intellectual exchange.

6) Culture: Around 38,000 Indians live in Japan. Many professionals including IT professionals and engineers live in Japan.

7) Cooperation: 7 Indian states and 3 cities in India have collaborated with the Prefectures and cities of Japan in diverse sectors.

8) Politics: India and Japan’s relations have entered a period of relative stability. Japan and India share similar political ideologies. They remain in the same boat. Neither has the power to go at the world alone.

Thus, they share similar beliefs about foreign policy. They must continue to maintain relationships with other countries to secure their position in the race for global power.
Their relationship is diplomatic for the time being. The future course will depend on several factors in the long run. But for now, they form a winning combination that benefits each other.