Tokyo's decision to add India to the list of Asian countries qualifying for subsidies for Japanese companies who intend to take their business out of China is a fitting farewell gift by Abe to endorse his friendship with Modi.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's positive influence across the region is spreading like a healing balm despite the nuisance value posed by China. Modi and his Japanese counterpart and outgoing prime minister Shinzo Abe are poised to conduct a rewarding summit on September 10 and already the mechanisms for positive takeaways between the two countries have been put into place given the bond enjoyed by the two leaders and this would be a fitting farewell for Abe who is stepping down from office owing to poor health.
As a fitting curtain raiser to the summit and taking into account India's growing global stature in commerce and industry the Japanese ministry of economy, trade and industry (MITI) has added India to the list of Asian countries who qualify for subsidies for Japanese companies who intent to take their business out of China. This landmark decision comes on the back of yet another piece of collaboration between India and Australia who have agreed to promote cooperation on building reliable, durable supply chains during a meeting between Indian minister of commerce Piyush Goyal, Australia's minister for trade, tourism and investment Simon Birmingham and Japan's minister of economy, trade and industry Kajiyama Hiroshi. A decision was taken to launch it by November.
Tokyo and New Delhi are making all the right noises in what is a strong signal to China that the world is aligning against its self-serving and belligerent interests as has been evidenced on multiple occasions especially throughout the Asian continent. The goal is to check China's wayward ways and impetious decision making and an Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) signed between the two countries will be yet another case in point. Both India and Japan have their own issues with China, as does Australia, and it is no coincidence that on the day of this important summit Indian foreign minister S. Jayshankar will be in Moscow for an SCO foreign minister's meeting during which he is also scheduled to have an interface with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
Tokyo's announcement that it is aggressively looking to seek alternatives to China in business indicates that industry such as IT, Tech and IoT could reap dividends as would chemicals and food processing. It would naturally behove India to woo Japanese investors aggressively and with result oriented actions. The India-Japan collaboration is a positive one and it reflects that both nations are reinvesting in regional diplomacy. This is based upon shared values and a commitment to economic and security cooperation which, in turn, will play an important role in ensuring future stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.
Japan's pledge to boost infrastructure development in India via official development assistance and investment forms a strong foundation. A survey of Japanese manufacturers showed India is the number one target for investment over the next ten years driven mainly by expectations for market size. There is no doubt that India has been revving up its growth engine and will readdress its claim to being a key link in regional supply chains. Even though India has yet to be a participant of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations recently, Tokyo has accepted New Delhi's absence with maturity and grace and understood the logic behind it while at the same time keeping the doors open. There is an enormous opportunity for India to reshape the rules and norms trade and commerce in the south east Asia and Japan will act as an enabler in this regard.
But it is not just trade alone which would bring the two nations closer. Bilateral security cooperation is yet another facet in this relationship and it has developed based on a joint security declaration that has accelerated military exercises and dialogues on regional security issues. Japan also participates in the annual Malabar exercises with India and the United States in the realm of maritime security and this includes the presence of Australia in what has been referred to as the Quad. The aim is to secure a rules based order in the region.
The defense ministers of India and Japan as well as the respective foreign ministries have come out and announced their commitment to preserving peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
A separate and counter narrative to China is already taking shape in the region and there is no doubt that the enabling and optimistic presence of India is vital towards the formation of a new approach and thought process that offers other countries a viable choice instead of a one-size fits all approach that is being peddled by Beijing.