Both India and Japan have been expanding cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region bilaterally, the latest being a grant of $2.11 billion by Japan for a project for the improvement of power supply in strategically located Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
A friendship that began in the 8th century has today blossomed into a strong foundation of strategic depth and mutual support – and the latest evidence comes in the form of Japan’s $2.11 billion assistance for several key infrastructure projects across India.
Indeed, recorded history of relations between India and Japan go back as far in history as 752 AD, with the ties rooted on strong cultural and civilizational basis. In more recent times, the two nations have forged an even stronger relationship as evidenced by several high-level meetings and economic ties. In 2014, this friendship was elevated to a Special Strategic and Global Partnership – where former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to realize public and private investments worth JPY 3.5 trillion and doubling the number of Japanese companies in India over the next five years.
The loans and grants to be provided by the Japan government to various projects in India – including for the fourth phase of the Delhi Metro – are seen as adding further momentum in that same direction, also consolidating Japan’s security partnership with India through the Quad as well as bilateral interfaces.
The financial assistance included a grant of 4.01 billion yen for a project for the improvement of power supply in strategically located Andaman and Nicobar Islands, according to the Japanese Embassy in India. Notes on the loans and the grant were exchanged between CS Mohapatra, additional secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs of the Finance Ministry, and Japanese Ambassador Satoshi Suzuki last week.
The grant of 4.01 billion yen is Japan's first ever official development assistance (ODA) to a project in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. "Due to its geopolitical location, Andaman and Nicobar Islands play a crucial role in our shared vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific," an official from the Japanese Embassy told PTI. "Cooperation between Japan and India on these crucial islands demonstrate the commitment of both countries to realising a stable, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific," the official added.
Both India and Japan have been expanding cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region bilaterally as well as under the framework of the Quad grouping. Apart from India and Japan, the Quad comprises the US and Australia and the leaders of all four nations recently held their first summit.
The loans provided by Japan include 52.03 billion yen for the phase two of the Bengaluru Metro Rail project and 119.97 billion yen for the phase four of the Delhi Metro.
Japan has been supporting the Delhi Metro project from its beginning and has cumulatively extended 705,206 million Japanese Yen in ODA loans since 1997.
According to the embassy, Japan has also decided to extend a loan of upto 11.30 billion yen for phase two of the Himachal Pradesh crop diversification promotion project – which aims to promote agricultural productivity and sustainable crop diversification to higher value crops, and thereby improving farmers' income.