India-Japan Relations

Note: The year 2022 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and India.
History of India-Japan relations:
  • India-Japan relations are based on the theme “building a future for our centenary.” which means to create a future and propel both countries towards the 100th-anniversary landmark and beyond.
  • Formal relations: India and Japan started their formal relations in 1952. To ensure equality and honour after WW II, India chose to opt for a bilateral peace treaty with Japan instead of signing a multilateral San Francisco Peace Treaty. India also invited Japanese athletes in 1951 to the first Asian Games it hosted in New Delhi. It was an important occasion in Japan as it was one of the first occasions where the Japanese flag was hoisted after WWII.
  • Cultural Relations: In 752, an Indian monk, Bodhisena, performed the consecration ceremony for the Great Buddha Statue at Todai-ji, which is one of the most important temples in Japan.
  • Industrial relations: Many Japanese travelled to India to purchase cotton, iron ore, etc, in the late 19th century, when Japan was in need of natural resources to modernize its industry.
  • Exchange of artists: Exchange between artists was also visible like Nobel Laureate in literature, Rabindranath Tagore, and Okakura Tenshin, a Japanese philosopher.
  • Democracy is the binding glue.
  • Both see China as potential rival.
  • Both has USA as their common friend.
Present status of India-Japan relations:
  • India and Japan are working as natural partners and working together for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” and various other global issues.
  • Japan is the largest ODA (Official Development Assistance) donor to India.
  • It is also one of the largest investors in India. For example, both countries are collaborating in the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail project.
  • Apart from it, both countries have together promoted economic cooperation in other countries to enhance social infrastructure and connectivity. Ex Sri Lanka, Myanmar.
Recent updates about India-Japan Relations:
  • Investment by Japan: Japan will invest Rs 3.2 lakh crores in the next five years in India.
  • Sustainable Development Initiative for the North-East Region.
  • India-Japan Digital Partnership:
    • Promotion of joint projects in IoT and other emerging areas.
    • Japan is looking forward to Indian skilled IT professionals.
  • Clean-Energy Partnership:
    • Cooperation in areas such as electric vehicles, batteries, solar energy etc.
  • Quad:
    • Increasing importance of Quad in Geo Politics
  • Supply Chain Resilience Initiative:
    • Launched by India, Japan and Australia to counter China’s dominance of the supply chain in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement:
    • A Logistic agreement that will allow armed forces of both sides to coordinate closely in services and supplies.
  • In 2014, India and Japan upgraded their relationship to ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’.
  • The India-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that came into force in August 2011 covers trade in goods, services, movement of natural persons, investments, Intellectual Property Rights, custom procedures and other trade related issues.
Way Forward:
  • Both countries can work towards ensuring global peace and prosperity. Together, they can work in various fields like including cybersecurity, outer space, and economic security.
  • India and Japan can work together to enhance their economic relations. This will help to further strengthen the economy of the Indo-Pacific, as well as the world economy.
  • There has been an increase in the number of Japanese learners in India. These cultural exchanges can be further strengthened to strengthen the foundation of both countries.