Emerging Indo-Japanese relationship can play strategic role in India’s growth
 Source : NewsBharati  Date : 08-Sep-2017

The foundation of Indo-Japanese partnership dates back to 1903, when Viscount Moriyoshi Nagaoka, a patrician from an illustrious Daimyo family of Hosokawa clan in Kyushu, Marquis Shigenobu Okuma, the 17th Prime Minister of Japan under the Meiji ascendancy, Viscount Eiichi Shibusawa and other eminent personalities of Japan inaugurated the India-Japan Association with a view to deepen friendship and promoting mutual trust and affable relations between Japan and India, and for furtherance of the same, Japan, by 1925 had superstructed a trade and commerce centre in Calcutta. All of them were convinced of the need for developing relations between Japan and India – two of the most important countries in Asia. Indian jurist Radhabinod Pal was the only one out of 11 allied justices who argued against punishment for top Japanese wartime leaders at the military tribunal for the Far East after the end of World War II. The communion further besets the natural affinity of Japanese people towards Hindu culture, the Indian goddess Saraswati, for instance, is known as Benzaiten in Japan, Bramha, known as 'Bonten', and Yama, known as 'Enma'. In addition to the common Buddhist influence on the two societies, Shintoism, a faith that worships nature alongside ancient ancestors has many similarities with Hinduism.

It was only after Abe's Liberal Democratic Party assumed power post-December 2012 elections, the Indo-Japanese relation was set to embark on strategic partnership.The Historic visit of Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in November 2013 was a watershed in relations between the two countries that seek to build a strategic partnership. The six-day tour emanated from the recommendations made by Japanese cabinet led by nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe which advised the emperor to visit India and set the stage for a new era in world geo-politics. In 2014, with the victory of Indian Nationalist leader Narendra Modi, India and Japan were all set to make history. India is only non-signatory of Non-Proliferation Treaty with which Japan has signed a nuclear deal in 2016 when Prime Minister Modi visited Japan. The deal enables Japan to supply nuclear reactors, fuel and technology to India.

The revival of Shintoism has played a pivotal role in reinvigorating the Japanese to breathe new life into Japan and help it rise as an international power that plays its role in Asia-Pacific region. One of most defining moments of contemporary Asian history is December 26th,2013 when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Yasukuni shrine – a temple for the 2.5 million departed Japanese during World War II. By visiting the Yasukuni shrine Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe sent a simple message of love for country and for those who fought for Japan and sacrificed their lives during World War II. Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe is the son of Foreign Minister of Japan and grandson of a Prime Minister. According to Abe, he learnt from his father, Shintaro Abe, one of the most accomplished diplomats in the post war Japan, the importance and sacrifices that need to be made to lead a public life.

Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe’s plan to “Restore Japan” is unfolding as the story of re-emergence of one of the greatest nations of the world. Japan is the oldest democracy in Asia and post-2012 journey of Japan has many lessons for the biggest democracy of Asia, India. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s resounding victory and re-election in 2016 provides him with opportunities to rejuvenate the Japanese economy, revising the post war constitution and to allow more conventional Military. Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe is determined to lead Japan back to its glory.

Looking to the future, it is the defence cooperation that is expected to significantly contribute to the emerging relationship. There is already cooperation between the naval forces of both the countries and now there is a focus on bringing the two air forces closer. The India-Japan-US tri-lateral naval exercise is paving the ground for greater military cooperation, the ‘Malabar 2017’ is the “largest maritime exercise ever conducted in the Indian Ocean” as President Donald Trump said during the summit with Prime Minister Modi in June 2017. The historic joint Naval exercise saw the debut of JS Izumo in an exercise with the US and Indian Navies. This year’s Malabar exercise is notable on several fronts. It’s the first naval exercise between three countries to involve aircraft carriers from each side. The Indian Navy has deployed INS Vikramaditya, the United States has sent the USS Nimitz - super carrier to the exercises. Sixteen ships, two submarines and more than 95 aircraft were part of the exercise in the Bay of Bengal. India-Japan defence and security cooperation now need to be exalted to the next level. In a joint statement with the Japanese Defence Minister General Nakatani, Japan and India have pledged to deepen bilateral defence ties and the establishment of a Joint Working Group on Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation.

The $1.3 billion defence deal of procurement of 12 Japan-made ShinMaywa US-2 amphibious search-and-rescue aircraft for the Indian Navy, needs to be expedited. It will also be a landmark in Tokyo's efforts to shed its postwar ban on weapons trade and get the ball rolling for a new chapter in the Strategic military cooperation between the two nations. The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Ahmedabad for the ground breaking ceremony of the high-speed railway network corridor being built between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.He along with Prime Minister Modi will also lay the foundation for two Japanese Industrial Park in Gujarat which will attract Rs 20,000 crore investments.The Park will have a Japanese residential colony first of its kind in India. Japan is also developing the Industrial Corridor that pans across states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and bringing investment and jobs. The Indo-Japan relation is among the strongest relationships shared by two Asian nations that need to be advanced to the next level.