Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo will visit India from 13th to 15th instant for his annual Summit with Indian Prime Minister Modi. According to Japanese media reports, the two leaders are expected to confirm strengthening of maritime security cooperation between the two countries. They will also participate in the India high-speed rail groundbreaking ceremony and launch the “Asia Africa Growth corridor” project. Some critics said that Abe and Modi were in a “honeymoon” phase, so how would that “approach” of the two affect the situation in the region?
What the two will talk about?
Third, the two countries may conclude a maritime security agreement. Since 2012, Japan and India have come increasingly close on cooperation in the seas, with successive annual naval exercises. The Indian Ocean is the key channel for Japan’s energy imports. Last year, Japan threw an “Indo-Pacific Ocean Strategy”at India. Some commented that under the leadership of Abe, Japan wishes to re-engage and contest for high-risk influence in the Indian Ocean.
Finally, whether the long delayed Indian export of the “made in Japan” US-2i maritime reconnaissance plane will see the light of day is also a hidden aspect that remains to be clarified.
Wooing and pandering
In this regard, Chen Youjun, an associate researcher at the Shanghai Institute of international studies, believes that Japan and India need each other, and that the strategic needs of the two countries in the political, economic and security fields will bring them together. From the point of view of Japan, politically, Abe hopes to further enhance the level of cooperation between the two countries, and does not rule out the possibility of establishing a “2+2” mechanism for Ministerial level dialogue. Economically, Abe has been looking for new overseas economic carriers, and has long coveted India’s vast market as an ideal destination for the transfer of production facilities and second tier technologies. At present, the Japan-India Delhi Mumbai Economic Corridor project is under way, Abe hopes to introduce more Japanese companies to India. In the security field, Abe dished out the “Ind0-Pacific ocean strategy”, reflecting the intention and even international power strategy of Japan.
Fudan University Institute of international Studies Professor Du Youkang pointed out that Japan’s intentions to draw India into containing China has been evident for some time now. And Modi has displayed a certain accommodation of Abe. This is mainly based on the reality of India’s national interests: on the one hand, whether it is high-speed rail construction, or military cooperation, they are in line with India’s actual/practical needs; on the other hand, India is also willing to enjoy wooing by other countries, Having the best of both sides, secures it more room for maneuver in foreign affairs.
Does Modi have a sense of proportion?
Some critics say that that the situation in the Asia-Pacific region is evolving in a subtle manner. For Tokyo and New Delhi, the situation in many areas is “precarious”, especially in terms of security, and is testing the diplomatic wisdom and strategic maturity of both countries. What will bethe impact on the regional situation ?
Chen Youjun believes that the friendly atmosphere of Japan-India relations may affect China-Japan and China-India relations to a certain extent. But it remains to be seen how relations between China and India develop after the BRICS Summit. This year is the 45th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations; next year is the 40th anniversary of signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, and therefore an important turning point.
Du Youkang pointed out that the situation is now subtle, and some “little tricks” by Abe and Modi cannot be ruled out. But Modi’s foreign policy will (have to) have a certain sense of proportion. Modi is very clear that the common interests of China and India continue to grow, the trade volume between China and India is far greater than that between Japan and India. So long as Chinese and Indian policies proceed on the normal track, India will not lean too much towards the United States and Japan. After all, “non-alignment” is the most favorable for India.