IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


12th January, 2023 International Relations

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Context: The U.K. and Japan, signed a defence pact, which will permit the deployment of troops in each other’s countries and increase security cooperation.


  • The move comes as Britain is undertaking a ‘tilt’ towards the Indo-Pacific in its foreign and security policy.
  • The Reciprocal Access Agreement is hugely significant for both our nations — it cements commitment to the Indo-Pacific and underlines joint efforts to bolster economic security, accelerate defence cooperation and drive innovation that creates highly skilled jobs.
  • The agreement would allow “both forces to plan and deliver larger scale, more complex military exercises and deployments” and called it the most significant treaty between the countries since 1902 when the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Alliance was signed.
  • In December, Japan’s F-X fighter jet program was merged with the UK and Italy’s ‘Tempest’ program to create the Global Combat Air Programme.
  • The U.K. and Japan had also launched a digital partnership last month, to increase cooperation in semiconductors, cyber resilience and online safety.

India-UK Relations: 

Present developments:

  • Britain said it will only sign the the India-U.K. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) when there is one that “meets the UK’s interests.
  • India and the United Kingdom have a multi-dimensional strategic partnership, and are actively engaged in bilateral trade. The two countries agreed to begin formal negotiations for an FTA in January 2022, aiming to advance trade and investment relations between them.
  • The FTA is important for both countries as it would provide a boost and create a robust framework of overall trade and investment between the two countries.

Background of relations:

  • India and the United Kingdom share historic ties for several centuries.
  • The two countries have had a Strategic Partnership since 2004 and enjoy a multi-faceted relationship spanning across trade and economy, health, science & technology, defence & security, people-to-people relations, climate change and close cooperation on multilateral issues.
  • There have been regular high-level visits

Bilateral Institutional Engagements:

  • The India-UK Foreign Office Consultations
  • The India-UK Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Dialogue
  • India-UK JWG on Counter Terrorism
  • India and UK also regularly meet under the UN Dialogue, Policy Planning Dialogue, Strategic Dialogue, Cyber Dialogue and Home Affairs Dialogue to discuss cooperation in specific sectoral areas.

Economic Cooperation:

  • Merchandise trade between the two countries was US$15.45 billion in 2019-20 with the trade balance in favour of India.
  • During the period of April to August 2020, India’s merchandise export to the UK was USD 2.33 billion and Import was USD 1.47 billion, totalling USD 3.80 billion.
  • India invested in 120 projects and created 5,429 new jobs in the UK to become the second-largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) after the US in 2019 according to the Department for International Trade (DIT) inward investment statistics for 2019-2020.
  • UK is the 6th largest inward investor in India, after Mauritius, Singapore, Netherlands, Japan, and USA with a cumulative equity investment of US $28.39 billion (April 2000 - June 2020), accounting for around 6% of all foreign direct investment into India.


  • India and the UK signed the Defence and International Security Partnership (DISP) in November 2015 to provide a strategic roadmap and direction to the evolving India-UK Defence Relations.
  • Defence Consultative Group at the Defence Secretary level last met in 2019.
  • The virtual Defence Equipment Sub-Group (DESG) meeting was last held in 2020.
  • The secretarial level talk was focused on issues about defence production and defence industry collaboration.
  • Around 70 defence-related companies across the UK supply various goods for aircraft/helicopter manufacturing/overhaul at HAL like ejection seats, fuel tank kits, hydraulic pumps, engine spares etc and support legacy platforms like Jaguar, Mirage & Kiran.
  • Maritime cooperation is another area where engagement is increasing.
  • UK is deploying Carrier Strike Group in the Indian Ocean region this year in line with its strategic tilt to Indo-Pacific.

Education, Research and Innovation:

  • UK is among the favoured destinations for Indian students to pursue higher education.
  • India was one of the biggest beneficiaries of UK’s new liberalised point-based immigration system.
  • Around 50000 Indian students are currently studying in UK.
  • UK is India’s second largest partner in Science and Technology collaborations. The two sides are collaborating under institutionalized mechanisms like UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) and through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) programmes.
  • UK identifies India as a key development partner. Further, the two sides are discussing Global Innovation Programme, which will support Indian sustainable innovations to be scaled up and transferred to select developing countries. GIP builds on the success of Invest Global, a pilot project that was supported by DST and ex-DFID as part of the Millennium Development Alliance.

Climate and Environment:

  • India and UK closely engage on climate-related issues through various mechanisms including the Ministerial Energy Dialogue (Sep, 2018), and Joint Working Groups on Climate, Power and Renewables.
  • India-UK Green Growth Equity Fund is mobilising institutional investments in the renewable energy, waste management, electric mobility and environment sub-sectors in India.


  • Health sector collaboration is a key element of India-UK Strategic Partnership.
  • The Joint Working Group on Health and Life Sciences regularly meets to prioritise and coordinate bilateral cooperation in the health sector.
  • The successful partnership between Oxford University, AstraZeneca and SII on Covid19 vaccine demonstrated the potential of Indian and UK expertise working together to solve international challenges.
  • The two sides are also working on pandemic preparedness, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), Zoonotic research, non-communicable diseases, digital health, ayurveda and alternate medicines, as well as health worker mobility.
  • An MOU was signed in April 2018 during the visit of PM Modi to the UK.

Multilateral Collaboration:

  • UK has been supportive of India's permanent membership of UNSC since 2004 and voted favourably in the roll-over decision on UNSC reforms to the 70th session of UNGA.
  • UK is also a strong supporter of India's membership of the NSG, MTCR, Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement.
  • UK and India are the current co-chairs of CDRI. UK is also a member of ISA and supports its activities.

Indian Diaspora:

  • The Indian Diaspora in UK is one of the largest ethnic minority communities in the country, including approximately 1.6 million British nationals of Indian origin and about 3,51,000 NRIs living in the UK equating to almost 2.5 percent of the UK population and contributing 6% of the country’s GDP. 

India-Japan Relations:


  • Relation between Japan & 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.
  • Throughout the various phases of history since contract between India and Japan the two countries have rarely been adversaries except in 1998.
  • 22 years ago in 1998 when India had conducted its nuclear tests, Japan was at the forefront of criticizing India.
  • But over the years, the two countries have built upon values and created a partnership based on both principle, pragmatism and shared interest.


  • The India-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that came into force in August 2011 is the most comprehensive of all such agreements concluded by India.
  • CEPA covers not only trade in goods but also services, movement of natural persons, investments, Intellectual Property Rights etc.
  • Japan has been extending bilateral loan and grant assistance to India since 1958, and is the largest bilateral donor for India
  • Japan has invested in the $90 billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor & backing the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train service o Japan is the third-largest source of FDI investment into India.
  • In FY 2017-2018 India-Japan bilateral trade reached US$ 15.71 billion with India having trade surplus of about US $ 5 billion.
  • Japan had pledged Rs 33,800 crore in government and private sector investments.
  • Japan Offered a $75 billion currency swap to India


  • India and Japan face a common security threat from China. Both can help each other to remain secure.
  • India and Japan have initiated bilateral exercises between all three components of their defence forces:-
    • Shinyuu Maitri-Joint Air Force Exercise,
    • Dharma Guardian- joint military exercise & JIMEX -Bilateral Maritime Exercise.
    • Both take part in Malabar exercise.


  • Both India and Japan are members of the Quad to counter China in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Both share a common interest in securing International Sea Lines for the free flow of trade.
  • Both countries have established a “Special Strategic Global Partnership”.
  • Both are G4 countries that aspires for permanent membership of the U.N. Security Council.

Science & Technology:

  • Bilateral S&T cooperation began in 1993 with the establishment of the India-Japan Science Council.

Recent initiatives:

  • They include the establishment of three India-Japan Joint Laboratories in the area of Information and Communication Technology (“Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics”).
  • Asia-Africa Growth Corridor - economic cooperation agreement between the governments of India, Japan and multiple African countries.
  • There are growing links between Indian states and Japanese prefectures.
  • MoUs: As of now 7 Indian states and 3 sister cities/regions have partnered with Japanese prefectures and cities through MoUs to cooperate under diverse sectors
  • Investment in the northeast: Japan promises to undertake several projects in the region under North East Forum.
  • Energy: Agreement for cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.