In the ever-changing landscape of international relations, the partnership between India and Japan has evolved significantly over the past two decades. From the early steps taken in the early 2000s to the robust relationship that stands today, the India-Japan alliance has become a beacon of collaboration, growth, and friendship. This dynamic partnership has transcended geographical boundaries, bringing together two nations with rich histories and cultures, and has laid a solid foundation for a brighter and more prosperous future.
From Global Partnership to Special Strategic and Global Partnership
The journey of India-Japan relations took a significant turn in August 2000 when Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori visited India. This visit provided the momentum to strengthen the Japan-India relationship, leading to the establishment of the "Global Partnership between Japan and India." This partnership was further solidified when Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee joined hands with Mr. Mori.
Fast forward to April 2005, when Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to India marked the beginning of a tradition. Japan-India annual summit meetings became a regular occurrence, held alternately in their respective capitals. The momentum kept building, and in December 2006, during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Japan, the Japan-India relationship was elevated to the "Global and Strategic Partnership."
However, the most significant milestone in this journey came in September 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an official visit to Japan and had a summit meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The two leaders concurred to upgrade the bilateral relationship to a "Special Strategic and Global Partnership." This signaled a deepening of their ties and reflected a broad convergence of their long-term political, economic, and strategic goals.
Economic Cooperation and Trade Ties
One of the most notable achievements of the India-Japan partnership has been the strengthening of economic cooperation. The two nations have collaborated on numerous infrastructure projects, none more iconic than the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail, known as the Bullet Train project. This ambitious endeavor, fueled by Japanese technology and expertise, promises to revolutionize India's transportation sector while symbolizing the deep trust and commitment between the two nations.
Trade ties have also flourished, with bilateral trade reaching new heights. Both nations have embraced initiatives like "Make in India" and the "Japan-India Make-in-India Special Finance Facility," further enhancing their economic integration. This flourishing trade relationship has not only benefited businesses but has also created jobs and opportunities for their citizens, strengthening the foundation of their partnership.
A Commitment to a Free and Open Indo-Pacific
In the realm of diplomacy, India and Japan have solidified their strategic partnership, emphasizing the importance of regional and global stability. They have collaborated on maritime security, defense technology sharing, and joint naval exercises, ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Their unwavering commitment to a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" has garnered support from like-minded nations, reinforcing the significance of international norms and rules.
Fostering Mutual Understanding and Appreciation
Cultural exchanges have played a pivotal role in strengthening the India-Japan relationship. Both nations have celebrated their shared cultural heritage through various initiatives, from yoga festivals that promote physical and mental well-being to Japanese language programs in Indian schools. These exchanges have brought their people closer together, fostering mutual understanding and appreciation.
A Promising Future
The India-Japan relationship has evolved significantly over the past two decades, marked by remarkable progress in economics, diplomacy, and cultural ties. This partnership has not only strengthened their bilateral relations but has also contributed to regional and global stability. As we look forward to the future, it is evident that the bond between India and Japan will continue to grow stronger, bringing prosperity and happiness to their citizens and inspiring the world with their harmonious friendship.
With their commitment to a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific"
and a shared vision for peace and prosperity, India and Japan are poised to play pivotal roles in shaping the future of the region and the world.
Recognizing the growing importance of the India-Japan relationship and partnership of fostering mutual understanding and strengthening the bonds between India and Japan, IJBC and News Bharati.com are starting a year-long series of articles to enhance the awareness and knowledge surrounding the India-Japan relationship. This collaboration aims to promote a deeper appreciation of the cultural, economic, and diplomatic ties between the two nations. Welcome to India-Japan Canvas!
The author Siddharth Deshmukh
is the President of the Indo-Japan Business Council (IJBC)
About Indo-Japan Business Council
Indo-Japan Business Council
(IJBC), established in 2011, is the apex bi-lateral Chamber synergizing India-Japan engagement in business, trade, commerce, education, and culture. IJBC is continually working to enhance India-Japan Business and Economic Engagement. Today IJBC has a pan India presence.