Indo-Japanese Summit Inspires Closer Ties

By: Arman Sidhu

As part of Narendra Modi’s regional foreign policy, the prime minister’s most recent visit to Japan has solidified India and Japan’s historically friendly ties. With Japan serving as example for Modi’s vision for a flourishing economic powerhouse, the talks between both governments have rendered increasing strategic partnerships in trade, a subject of which takes priority for Modi’s self-described “Look East” initiative.

Spanning five days, the summit’s success boasts over $30 Million USD worth of investment on behalf of Japan, to be invested in the public and private spheres of India’s capital-starved economy. The moves comes at a time when economic policy is shifting drastically toward capturing the attention of foreign investors, in part to jolt what was inherited as a stagnant economy poised for several problems concerning currency devaluation and rising commodity prices.

While Modi has been adamant on his own pivot to Asia being more or less a trade expo to lure investment in his country, it isn’t difficult to believe the topics concerning defense were also intimately discussed between the Indian Prime Minister and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, who in the face of the everlasting threat of maritime disputes with China, could see Modi as a long-term ally with the ability to bolster economic influence in South Asia, as evident by Abe’s most recent trip to Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The relationship of Japan and India in a post-World War II and post-independence day in age has circumvented around defense, with a majority of discussion focusing more on promotion of India as a manufacturing haven for the larger and politically influential Japanese corporations, much of whom maintain a physical presence in India. Nevertheless, India could benefit from maintaining friends with an economic role model like Japan.

With that growth, and new projects like the BRICS bank and other economic development ideas in Modi’s pipeline, comes the fierce competition between each country’s economic sectors. Japan, a nation facing economic problems of its own, from mismanagement to a declining population, hardly has garnered the same recent attention from the typical international-savvy businessman that India has managed to muster.

Japan hasn’t displayed much resilience to investing in India since the nation’s industrial revolution placed Japanese firms on the map as fervent investors looking to expand to commercial hubs across the world. Much to the chagrin of China, the apparent success of what was deemed as a “special strategic and global partnership,” has left an impression on both Indian and Japanese leaders, who see mutual benefits in closer ties.

The key to Modi keeping his momentum with the Japan trip and other foreign stops is his assurance that he will be able to scrap the hurtful government red-tape that has spooked many investors from injecting their capital within the country’s borders. With trips and scheduled to Australia & the United States, Modi’s own India global trade expo needs to ensure foreign governments that his administration can fulfill the lofty expectations put out by the ruling BJP administration.

Arman Sidhu is a freelance journalist based in Phoenix, Arizona and a current undergraduate at Arizona State University.

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Categories: Asia

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