Amid the rise of an expansionist China, which is exploiting the military vacuum in the Indo-Pacific region, there is a need for forging new alliances between like-minded countries while strengthening the QUAD or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, Satoru Nagao, Non-Resident Fellow, Hudson Institute has said.
Speaking at a webinar on India-Japan relations and the Indo-Pacific geopolitics organised by Tillotoma Foundation, Nagao said that there is an urgent need to collectively respond to China’s belligerence especially in the wake of the Chinese incursions in Senkaku Islands on the East China Sea and the Galwan Valley clash between India and China.
Underlining the importance of upholding the rule-based order by countries like India and Japan, he said that the common issue of addressing Beijing’s increasing aggression is an important factor behind the strong ties between New Delhi and Tokyo.
India and Japan have already expanded high-level ministerial and bureaucratic contacts in the last 10 years. In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga last month discussed the Covid 19 crisis. Not just that. A PTI report said that Suga expressed serious concerns about China's continued and "strengthened" unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China seas.
Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa, former Indian Ambassador to Japan and chairperson of the India-Japan Friendship Forum, who was also present at the webinar said that the enormous trust shared between the two countries has led India to allow Japan to develop ties in sensitive areas like the northeast and Andaman and Nicobar Islands--areas where New Delhi has not allowed entry of other countries. Modi has repeatedly emphasised the need to focus on Act East policy to develop and include the Northeastern states in the overall growth story of the country.
She also pointed out that 12 Indian unicorns are due to receive Japanese funding.
Jagannath P. Panda, Centre Coordinator, East Asia, Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses echoed the same sentiments. He specifically mentioned the Expanded Partnership for Quality Infrastructure as a critical foreign policy initiative between India and Japan.
He said the bilateral relationship is in a test-and-trial mode and is promising to evolve further. Panda also noted that seven Indian states have already signed memorandum of understanding with Japan for strong co-operation and development.