IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


29th July, 2023 International Relations

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  • Japan has contributed to many revolutions in India, said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during the India Japan Forum which was also attended by his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi.


  • The exchange between Japan and India is said to have begun in the 6th century when Buddhism was introduced to Japan. Indian culture, filtered through Buddhism, has had a great impact on Japanese culture, and this is the source of the Japanese people's sense of closeness to India.
  • After World War II, in 1949, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru donated an Indian elephant to the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. This brought a ray of light into the lives of the Japanese people who still had not recovered from defeat in the war.
  • Japan and India signed a peace treaty and established diplomatic relations on 28th April 1952. This treaty was one of the first peace treaties Japan signed after World War II.
  • Ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have enjoyed cordial relations.
  • In the post-World War II period, India's iron ore helped a great deal Japan's recovery from the devastation.
  • Following Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi's visit to India in 1957, Japan started providing yen loans to India in 1958, as the first yen loan aid extended by Japanese government.

Recent Relations

  • Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori’s visit to India in August 2000 provided the momentum to strengthen the Japan-India relationship. Mr. Mori and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee decided on the establishment of a "Global Partnership between Japan and India". Since Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visit to India in April 2005, Japan-India annual summit meetings have been held in respective capitals.
  • When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Japan in December 2006, the Japan-India relationship was elevated to the "Global and Strategic Partnership".
  • In September 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an official visit to Japan and had a summit meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They concurred to upgrade the bilateral relationship to a “Special Strategic and Global Partnership.”
  • In December 2015, Prime Minister Abe paid an official visit to India and had a summit meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two Prime Ministers resolved to transform the Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership into a deep, broad-based and action-oriented partnership, which reflects a broad convergence of their long-term political, economic and strategic goals. They announced “Japan and India Vision 2025 Special Strategic and Global Partnership Working Together for Peace and Prosperity of the Indo-Pacific Region and the World”, a joint statement that would serve as a guidepost for the “new era in Japan-India relations.”
  • In March 2023, Prime Minister Kishida visited India and held Japan-India Summit Meeting with Prime Minister Modi. The two leaders confirmed their commitment to discuss and work together on various issues in the international community in the lead-up to both the G7 and G20 summits and concurred to further develop Japan-India relations and work closely toward the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”.

Cooperation in Security Fields

  • During Prime Minister Singh’s visit to Japan in October 2008, two leaders issued "the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation between Japan and India".
  • There are also various frameworks of security and defense dialogue between Japan and India including Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (“2+2” meeting), annual Defense Ministerial Dialogue and Coast Guard-to-Coast Guard dialogue.
  • In September 2022, the second ”2+2” meeting was held in Tokyo.
  • On September 9th 2020, the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India Concerning the Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Indian Armed Forces (so-called “Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement” or ACSA) was signed. ACSA came into force on July 11th, 2021.


  • Army ---------DHARMA GUARDIAN
  • Navy ----------JIMEX
  • Air Exercise -----Shinyuu Maitri
  • Multilateral exercise -------- La Perouse-----India, France, Japan and Australia
  • Air combat exercise “Veer Guardian 23”
  • Naval Exercise---Malabar- Australia, Japan, USA, and India.

Economic Relations

  • In recent years, the economic relationship between Japan and India has steadily expanded and deepened. The volume of trade between the two countries has increased.
  • India was the 18th largest trading partner for Japan, and Japan was the 13th largest trading partner for India in 2021.
  • Also, direct investment from Japan to India has been increased, and Japan was the 5th largest investor for India in FY2021.
  • Japanese private-sector interest in India is rising, and, currently, about 1,439 Japanese companies have branches in India in 2021.
  • At recent summit meetings, The two leaders confirmed that they will promote active investment by Japanese companies in India in light of the 5-trillion-yen target of public and private investment and financing from Japan to India over the next 5 years, which was set on the occasion of Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to India in March 2022.
  • It also concurs on the importance of the Indian side further improving the business environment for smooth operations of Japanese companies in India, including cooperation for the diversification and enhancement of supply chains through the "India-Japan Industrial Competitiveness Partnership".
  • The two leaders also concurred to promote the "Clean Energy Partnership" announced during Prime Minister Kishida's visit to India in March 2022 to achieve carbon neutrality and ensure energy security at the global level, and to promote concrete cooperation in the areas of hydrogen, ammonia and LNG through the "Japan-India Energy Ministerial Dialogue" and other initiatives.

Economic Assistance

  • India has been the largest recipient of Japanese ODA loans for the past decades. Delhi Metro is one of the most successful examples of Japanese cooperation through the utilization of ODA.
  • Japan continues to cooperate in supporting strategic connectivity linking South Asia to Southeast Asia through the synergy between ''Act East'' policy and ''Partnership for Quality Infrastructure.''
  • Besides, Japan and India had committed to building High-Speed Railway in India by introducing Japan’s Shinkansen System, which is the flagship project of Japan-India relations.
    • Loan: 567.49 billion yen (FY 2022)
    • Grants: 4.67 billion yen (FY 2021)
    • Technical Cooperation: 8.5 billion yen (FY 2021)

Cultural Relations

  • The year 2012 marked the 60th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and India. Various cultural events took place both in Japan and in India to promote mutual understanding between the two countries, under the theme of “Resurgent Japan, Vibrant India: New Perspectives, New Exchanges.”
  • During the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Japan in November 2016, the two Prime Ministers declared the year 2017 the Year of Japan-India Friendly Exchanges to further enhance people-to-people exchanges between Japan and India.
  • The year 2017 also marked the 60th anniversary since the Cultural Agreement came into force in 1957. Various commemorating events took place in both countries.
  • In 2022, Japan celebrates anniversaries with the seven countries of Southwest Asia, including India. Japan designated 2022 as “Japan-Southwest Asia Exchange Year” with the aim of taking Japan’s relations with the countries of Southwest Asia to new heights.

Number of Residents

  • Number of Japanese nationals residing in India: 8,145 (as of October, 2022)
  • Number of Indian nationals residing in Japan: 40,752 (as of June, 2022)

Bilateral Treaties and Agreements

  • Treaty of Peace (1952)
  • Agreement for Air Service (1956)
  • Cultural Agreement (1957)
  • Agreement of Commerce (1958)
  • Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (1960)
  • Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology (1985)
  • Japan-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (2011)
  • Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India Concerning the Transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology (2015)
  • Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India Concerning Security Measures for the Protection of Classified Military Information (2015)
  • Agreement between Japan and the Republic of India on Social Security (2016)
  • Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (2017)
  • Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India Concerning Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Indian Armed Forces (2021).

Commitment to a Free and Open Indo-Pacific

  • In the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvring in the Indo-Pacific, India and Japan have asserted their steadfast commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that is inclusive and resilient.
  • Japan's Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy and India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) have provided the framework for the two countries to deepen their strategic partnership and cooperation in the region.
  • The Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX) started off in 2012 and had its 10th edition in September 2022. The event consolidated the high degree of interoperability that exists between maritime forces of the two countries, through complex exercises in the surface, sub-surface and air domains.
  • In 2015, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) became a permanent participant in the U.S.-India Malabar exercise, a step up from its previous sporadic involvement. To discuss issues of mutual interest in maritime domain and identify ways of furthering maritime cooperation, the Maritime Affairs Dialogue was instituted.
  • The sixth round of this Dialogue took place in virtual format in 2021. The two nations also, recently, concluded the inaugural edition of the bilateral air exercise 'Veer Guardian 2023' between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF).
  • Several agreements enable the exchange of supplies and services between the armed forces of the two countries, and the recently signed Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) will further the interoperability of the Indian and Japanese navy.
  • The 2022 National Defense Strategy expresses Tokyo’s intention to “deepen bilateral and multilateral defence exchanges including service-to-service exchange in a broad range of fields including maritime security and cybersecurity, while promoting training and exercises as well as defence equipment and technology cooperation.”
  • A critical aspect of the “Japan and India Vision 2025”, that seeks synergy between India's ‘Act East’ policy and Japan's ‘Partnership for Quality Infrastructure,’ is the intention expressed by the two nations to promote quality infrastructure to augment connectivity in the region. During his visit to India in March 2022, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida announced an investment target of 5 trillion Yen (approximately $37 billion) in India over the next five years.

Defence Technology: Innovation and Collaboration

  • As two of Asia's most significant economies, Japan and India have made strategic investments in their respective military sectors. While India ranks as the fourth-largest spender on military expenditure globally, Japan follows at tenth place.
  • Japan has committed to boosting its military spending over the next few years, highlighting its dedication to expanding its military capabilities.
  • In a show of collaboration, both countries have identified several joint projects in various dual-use technology areas, such as UAVs, robotics, and intelligence systems.
  • Additionally, cybersecurity cooperation between Japan and India, particularly concerning 5G technologies, has been a topic of discussion, underlining the importance of cooperation between these two powerful nations.

Multilateralism and the Global Role

  • India and Japan's growing defence ties in the Indo-Pacific are grounded in a shared commitment to multilateralism and strengthening the rules-based order.
  • Both countries have been active members of forums such as the Quad and ASEAN, and have sought to build coalitions with like-minded countries to maintain regional stability and counter China's assertiveness in the region.
  • In a joint statement, the Quad announced the formation of the Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) to strengthen maritime security cooperation and enhance situational awareness in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • As two of the largest democracies in Asia, India and Japan recognize their global role in shaping the strategic environment of the Indo-Pacific.
  • At the helm of the G20 and the G7, India and Japan, respectively, seek to pursue the interests of the Indo-Pacific region.
  • At a recent meeting, the G7 Ministers reiterated their strong endorsement for ASEAN centrality and unity, and their dedication to fostering collaboration in accordance with the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
  • Given this context, India-Japan partnership has the potential to shape the regional security architecture and contribute to the maintenance of a free and inclusive Indo-Pacific. Japan’s recent announcement of its investment of a staggering $75 billion to assist the economies in the Indo-Pacific region by 2030 is a significant step aimed at promoting greater economic integration and cooperation between countries.

Way Forward

  • New avenues for collaborative development of defence technologies have opened up between the two nations, given Tokyo’s interest in joining India's ‘self-reliance’ journey. By offering its expertise in building fighter jets and submarines, and sharing of information and technology, Japan has demonstrated its commitment to enhancing its strategic partnership with India.
  • In alignment, India's Defence Minister has encouraged Japanese companies to invest in the country's defence corridors, highlighting the country’s favourable investment climate. As India aims to enhance its defence production congruent with the goals of ‘Atmanirbharta,’ Japanese firms will find significant opportunities for investment and partnership in this sector.

READ: https://www.iasgyan.in/rstv/india-japan-ties


Q. India-Japan partnership has the potential to shape the regional security architecture and contribute to the maintenance of a free and inclusive Indo-Pacific. Analyze this statement in the context of China's assertiveness in the region.