IAS Gyan


India-Japan Ties

24th March, 2022

RSTV Perspective: India-Japan Ties


  • Japanese PM Fumio Kishida and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks in the 14th India-Japan Annual Summit to further strengthen the bilateral ties.
  • The year 2022 also marks seven decades of diplomatic relations between both nations.

Highlights of India-Japan Summit Joint Statement Partnership for a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Post-COVID World:

  • Reaffirming the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between India and Japan, the Prime Ministers concurred that the shared values and principles enunciated in the India-Japan Vision Statement issued in 2018 are particularly relevant in the present context.
  • They highlighted their commitment to working in tandem towards a peaceful, stable and prosperous world, based on a rules-based order and emphasized the need to seek peaceful resolution of disputes
  • They reaffirmed their common vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, free from coercion.
  • They welcomed the holding of the first 2+2 meeting of their Foreign and Defence Ministers in 2019 in New Delhi and instructed their Ministers to hold the second meeting at the earliest opportunity in Tokyo.
  • They also welcomed the operationalization of the Agreement Concerning Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Indian Armed Forces.
  • They expressed their commitment to continuing bilateral and multilateral exercises including "Dharma Guardian” and "Malabar” respectively, while welcoming the participation of Japan for the first time in exercise MILAN.
  • They affirmed the importance of bilateral and plurilateral partnerships among like-minded countries of the region, including the quadrilateral cooperation.
  • Prime Minister Kishida welcomed the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI) announced by Prime Minister Modi in 2019.
  • They reiterated their strong support for ASEAN’s unity and centrality and their full support for the "ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP)”.
  • They reaffirmed their determination to continue prioritizing the role of international law, particularly UNCLOS, and facilitate collaboration, to meet challenges against the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas.
  • The Prime Ministers condemned North Korea’s destabilising ballistic missile launches in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
  • The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their intention to collaborate closely to realise peace and stability in Afghanistan.
  • The Prime Ministers expressed deep concern at the growing threat of terrorism and underlined the need for strengthening international cooperation to combat terrorism in a comprehensive and sustained manner.
  • The Prime Ministers remained concerned about the situation in Myanmar and called for an end to violence, the release of all those detained and a return to the path of democracy.
  • The Prime Ministers expressed their serious concern about the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and assessed its broader implications, particularly to the Indo-Pacific region.
  • PM Kishida congratulated India on its successful Presidency of the UN Security Council in 2021. PM Modi reiterated India's support for Japan's candidature for a non-permanent seat at the UNSC for the term 2023-2024. They resolved to continue to work closely together for an early reform of the UNSC to reflect the contemporary realities of the 21st century.
  • The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their shared commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons and remained resolute in the task of strengthening international cooperation to address the challenges of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.
  • The Prime Ministers reiterated that India and Japan would continue to contribute to global efforts to combat COVID-19 and to protecting the lives and livelihoods of people.
  • The Prime Ministers recognized the importance and imminence of tackling climate change, and shared the importance of various pathways for pragmatic energy transitions reflecting different national circumstances and constant innovation to achieving global net-zero emission.
  • They welcomed the launch of the India-Japan Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) for cooperation towards achieving sustainable economic growth, addressing climate change and ensuring energy security.
  • The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to upholding and strengthening the rules-based multilateral trading system, with WTO at its core.
  • Noting steps taken by India to improve the business environment for Japanese investors in India, as well as other measures to boost economic growth and improve ease of doing business, they expressed their shared intention to realize JPY 5 trillion of public and private investment and financing from Japan to India in the next five years, to finance appropriate public and private projects of mutual interest.
  • They welcomed the renewal of their bilateral currency swap agreement of USD 75 billion.
  • They recognized the need for enhancing bilateral trade and welcomed the amendment promoting trade of fish surimi between India and Japan under India-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
  • They recognized that digital technologies would play an increasingly important role in the post-COVID world and welcomed the growing cooperation under the India-Japan Digital Partnership.
  • PM Modi appreciated Japan’s support for India’s socio-economic development over the years. The Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the exchange of notes concerning seven yen loan projects in which Japan provides over 300 billion yen (over INR 20400 crores) in total.
  • Prime Ministers reaffirmed their resolve to make the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership more robust and complementary in view of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2022 through people-to-people exchanges, tourism and sports. They welcomed the opening of the Rudraksha Convention Centre in Varanasi as a symbol of India-Japan friendship.
  • They welcomed the fact that more than 3,700 Indians were trained in JIMs (Japan-India Institutes for Manufacturing) and JECs (Japanese Endowed Courses) in the past year.

Highlights of Indo-Japan relationship:

  • The friendship between India and Japan has a long history rooted in spiritual affinity and strong cultural and civilizational ties.
  • India’s earliest documented direct contact with Japan was with the Todaiji Temple in Nara, where the consecration or eye-opening of the towering statue of Lord Buddha was performed by an Indian monk, Bodhisena, in 752 AD.
  • In contemporary times, among prominent Indians associated with Japan were Swami Vivekananda, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, JRD Tata, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Judge Radha Binod Pal.
  • The Japan India Association was set up in 1903, and is today the oldest international friendship body in Japan.
  • Today, India is the largest democracy in Asia and Japan the most prosperous.

Political Relations:

  • In the first decade after diplomatic ties were established in 1952, several high level exchanges took place.
  • A transformational development in the economic history of India was Suzuki Motor Corporation’s path breaking investment in India.
  • A test of the reliability of Japan as a friend was witnessed in 1991, when Japan was among the few countries that unconditionally bailed India out of the balance of payment crisis.
  • In 2000, the Japan-India Global Partnership in the 21st century was launched.
  • In 2006, the relationship was upgraded to a Global and Strategic Partnership with the provision of annual Prime Ministerial Summits.
  • A Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between Japan and India was concluded in 2011.

Economic and Commercial Cooperation:

  • Japan is regarded as a key partner in India’s economic transformation.
  • Japan's interest in India is increasing due to a variety of reasons including India's large and growing market and its resources, especially the human resources.
  • 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 and covers not only trade in goods but also Services, Movement of Natural Persons, Investments, Intellectual Property Rights, Custom Procedures and other trade related issues.
  • Japan has been extending bilateral loan and grant assistance to India since 1958, and is the largest bilateral donor for India.
  • Japanese ODA supports India’s efforts for accelerated economic development particularly in priority areas like power, transportation, environmental projects and projects related to basic human needs. The Ahmedabad-Mumbai High Speed Rail, the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor with twelve new industrial townships, the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC) are all mega projects which will transform India in the next decade. Delhi Metro Project has also been realized with Japanese assistance. In 2017-18, ODA disbursed was JPY 246.32 billion.
  • In FY 2017-2018 India-Japan bilateral trade reached US$ 15.71 billion. Exports from Japan to India during this period were US$ 10.97 billion and imports were US$ 4.74 billion. The trade totaled to US$ 14.90 billion during April 2018 –February 2019. Exports from Japan to India during this period were US$ 10.05 billion and imports were US$ 4.85 billion.
  • India has been ranked as the one of the most attractive investment destination in the survey (2018) of Japanese manufacturing companies, conducted by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

Cooperation in Skill Development:

  • Under the MoC signed in 2016 to train 30,000 shop floor leaders, Japanese companies have established ten Japan-India Institute of Manufacturing (JIM) in India and 3 Japanese Endowed Courses (JEC) in Indian Engineering Colleges.

Cooperation in Railway Sector:

  • Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway is a very important area of cooperation between India and Japan in Railway Sector.
  • A new High-Speed Rail Training Institute is being built at the National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) campus in Vadodara.

Science & Technology and Cultural Cooperation:

  • India-Japan S&T cooperation was formalized through an Inter-Governmental Agreement signed in 1985.
  • Bilateral S&T cooperation began in 1993 with the establishment of the India-Japan Science Council.
  • In 2006, DST initiated a value-based partnership on the principles of 'reciprocity and co-funding with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and Japan Science and Technology Agency.
  • Recent initiatives include establishment of three India-Japan Joint Laboratories in the area of Information and Communication Technology (“Internet of Thing, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics”).
  • A cultural agreement was signed between India and Japan on 29 October 1956, whichcame into effect on 24 May 1957.
  • A year-long Festival of India in Japan 2014-15 was held from October 2014 to September 2015.

Indian Community:

  • The arrival of Indians in Japan for business and commercial interests began in the 1870s at the two major open ports of Yokohama and Kobe.
  • In recent years, there has been a change in the composition of the Indian community with the arrival of a large number of professionals, including IT professionals and engineers working for Indian and Japanese firms as well as professionals in management, finance, education, and S&T research.
  • There are growing links between Indian states and Japanese prefectures. 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.


Importance of India – Japan Relations:

  • Wide range of interests: regional cooperation, maritime security, global climate, and UN reforms.
  • Share several common ideals: democracy, the rule of law, and human rights
  • India is seeking massive investments in its infrastructure sector and Japan is a major investor.
  • Japan’s technological and economic prowess could accelerate India’s development by transforming its infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.
  • India is a big market for Japanese companies.
  • Japan’s interest in India is increasing due India’s large and growing human resources.
  • Share convergent interests under Indo-Pacific and Quad.
  • India’s Act East Policy and Japan’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” converge in NER
  • Both countries are keen to extend their cooperation to the larger Indo-Pacific region—including the African continent.
  • The rise of China has been an important factor, while India’s growing closeness with the US has also played a role, as the US and Japan already have a close alliance.



  • Varying stands on issues like Ukraine conflict
  • The trade ties have remained underdeveloped.
  • The two sides have also been unable to collaborate in the defence sector in spite of huge potential.
  • Both had diverging interest with respect to economic issues like on E-commerce rules, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
  • India has challenge of maintaining balance between Quad and BRICS

Way Forward:

  • Economic front needs to be strengthened wherein demographic dividend of the India and other Asian countries can be deployed to benefit Asia as whole.
  • A roadmap with actionable items, such as by stepping up coordination in counter-terrorism, cyber security, and disaster relief.
  • Japanese green technologies can help India tackle pollution.
  • Smooth implementation of the high speed rail project linking Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
  • Defence: Both countries should engage on possibilities of India acquiring Japanese technology and on cooperative research.
  • A technologically deficient India has much to gain from a relationship with a country like Japan.
  • Efforts should be done to keep the Indo-Pacific multipolar.