General Studies Paper 2

Context: Recently, the 7th India-Japan Defence Policy Dialogue was co-chaired by Defence Secretary of India and the Vice Minister of Defense for International Affairs of Japan in New Delhi.

What are the Key Details of Dialogue?

  • About:The Defence Policy Dialogue is an institutionalized mechanism between India and Japan to discuss bilateral defence cooperation.
    • The purpose of the meeting is to discuss a wide range of issues related to defence cooperation between the two countries.
  • Highlights of the 7thDialogue:
    • The two countries discussed Service-level exercises and engagements, regional security issues and cooperation in defence equipment & technology.
      • The Japanese Vice Minister presented policy updates from their recently released National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy.
    • Both countries appreciated the growing cooperation between the Services through Staff talks and exercises.
    • They welcomed the conduct of the inaugural fighter exercise  Veer Guardian’ ‘between the Indian Air Force and Japanese Air Self Defence Force in January 2023 in Japan.
      • The Defence Secretary emphasized that both the countries should aim to deepen collaboration between the respective defence industries,
      • Japanese defence industries were invited for investment in India under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
    • Both sides agreed to diversify cooperation in new and emerging domains like defence space and cyber.

How are India’s Relations with Japan?

  • Defence Cooperation:Japan is one of the few countries with whom India has 2+2 ministerial dialogue
    • India and Japan’s defence forces also organize a series of bilateral exercises such as:
      • JIMEX(naval), Malabar exercise (Naval Exercise), ‘Veer Guardian’ and SHINYUU Maitri (Air Force), and Dharma Guardian (Army).
    • Common Groupings:
      • Both India and Japan are members of Quad,G20 and G-4, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER).
      • India-Japan Act East Forum was established in 2017 which aims to provide a platform for India-Japan collaboration under the rubric of India’s “Act East Policy“ and Japan’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy”.
    • Investment and ODA:
      • India has been the largest recipient of the Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA)Loan for the past decades for.
        • Delhi Metro is one of the most successful examples of Japanese cooperation through the utilization of ODA.
      • India’s Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)project is funded by a soft loan provided by Japan International Cooperation Agency.
        • Japan and India had committed to build a High-Speed Railways in India.
      • Economic Relations: Japan’s bilateral trade with India totaled US$ 20.57 billion during FY 2021-22. India was the 18thlargest trading partner for Japan, and Japan was the 12th largest trading partner for India in 2020.
      • India-Japan Digital Partnership:Discussion is going on for the “India-Japan Digital Partnership” with a view to enhancing the digital economy through the promotion of joint projects in the  area of IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence)and other emerging technologies.
        • Japan is looking forward to attracting more highly skilled Indian IT professionals to contribute to the Japanese ICT sector.
      • Strategic Clean Energy Partnership: For cooperation in areas such as electric vehicles, storage systems including batteries, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, development of solar energy, hydrogen, ammonia, etc.
        • Along with Digital Partnership, it was also announced at the14th India-Japan Annual Summit

What are the Challenges Related to Defence Cooperation?

  • China Factor:While both countries have sought to strengthen their relationship as a counterbalance to China’s influence, their approaches to dealing with China have differed.
    • India has been more vocal in criticizing China’s actions, while Japan has been more cautious in its approach.
  • Defence Exports: India is looking to export defence equipment to other countries, which could potentially compete with Japan’s own defence exports.
  • Influence of US-China Rivalry:The intensification of Chinese-American rivalry contributes to disturbance of regional security in the Indo-Pacific.

Way Forward

  • India and Japan are required to transform their military strategy and build on the common interest in preventing the rise of a securing hegemony in the Indo-Pacific (US and China).
  • More collaboration and cooperation can prove beneficial to both nations. There is also a huge potential with respect to Make in India.
    • Joint ventures could be created by merging Japanese digital technology with Indian raw materials and labour.
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