India Opens the Door to Japan
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s current visit to Japan has proved to be very successful in many ways. While it has brought two Asian giants on fruitful cooperation in different sectors like infrastructure, manufacturing, transport, and clean energy, along with smart cities and bullet train technology, it has forcefully highlighted the importance of a resurgent Asia in global affairs. With the massive Japanese investment to the tune of 3.5 trillion yen ($33.5 billion) into India in the above-mentioned sectors in the next five years both India and Japan will benefit. India will provide a huge market for Japanese businesses looking to diversify. High-speed bullet trains and smart cities with ultra-modern facilities are ideal opportunities for Japanese investments and expanding cooperation.
This is not the first time that both the Asian giants have cooperated to improve mutual trade and investment. An earlier unsuccessful effort occurred when India moved toward liberalisation in early 1990s. But due to prevailing red tape and cumbersome legal processes in India, the endeavour failed and Japan turned to China and South Korea instead of struggling with India’s corrupt and slow-moving bureaucracy. But due to Mr. Modi’s strong will and firm commitment, the effort has been renewed with PM Modi’s promises of “red carpet, not red tape.”
Another very important aspect of this visit has been to counter rising Chinese imperialist-militarist ambitions in the East, including the Indian Ocean. In the recent past, China has resorted to aggressive expansion in all directions causing territorial disputes with all the littoral countries of Southeast Asia along with India, Russia, and the Far East. China established its ADIZ (Air Defence Intimation Zone) last year declaring its claim over overlapping areas of Japanese and South Korean islands. Considering these facts as sinister designs of China to assume a role not only of the regional hegemon but that of a global one, the USA concluded a military treaty with Australia two years ago to counter the rising expansionism of China. It is against this backdrop, that expanding economic cooperation between India and Japan will definitely balance the Chinese posture towards India as well as other Asian countries. The overall scenario may further improve considerably if the present India-Japan cooperation expands to include the USA and Australia in its ambit with thrust on security and stability of the Asia in particular and the East in general, besides economic cooperation including the war against terrorism and all forms of religious fundamentalism and protection of environment etc..
Now, much depends upon India, as Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe has opened the door. Mr. Modi will have to see that all bureaucratic hurdles and procedural wrangles prevailing during tenures of previous governments in India are removed so that Japanese investment may easily flow into the country to stimulate the hitherto lagging Indian economy and consequent demoralised society and polity.