The “annual summit” between the prime ministers of India and Japan, which has taken place every year since 2006, directs the development of this bilateral relationship. Thoughts of the Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s brief “formal visit” to Delhi this week were not focused on the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership.
He concentrated on two things: coordinating the G-7 and G-20 agendas on issues related to food and energy security, primarily those related to the conflict in Ukraine, and announcing Japan’s $75 billion Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) plan, which will help the region’s nations avoid debt traps, build infrastructure, and improve maritime and air security.In order to address the problems posed by Russia and China, where Japan is allied with western countries, Mr. Kishida appeared to be emphasising the necessity for a global consensus, particularly with India. Mr. Kishida is said to have discussed the necessity for India, as the G-20 president, to support the G-7’s efforts to handle the Ukrainian issue and denounce “Russian aggression” in meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India is included as a “indispensable partner” in his FOIP strategy, despite the fact that he avoided specifically mentioning China despite the fact that China’s actions in its neighbourhood have clearly alarmed Japan. His trip was strategically timed to coincide with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to Moscow. And on Tuesday, Mr. Kishida travelled to Kiev to assist Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, his first such trip since the war started, while Mr. Xi met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a show of strength.
Mr. Kishida was a welcome visitor for New Delhi, which maintains close relations with Tokyo through bilateral and multilateral collaboration (Quad). Collaborations between the two nations are many and include a Japanese loan for the much-delayed “Bullet train” project as well as ambitions to collaborate on infrastructure projects to connect Bangladesh and northeastern India. Both countries stand to gain much by aligning goals and ensuring that the Global South receives a fair share of the outcomes of both summits as G-7 and G-20 leaders. Other shared objectives include putting a stop to the conflict in Ukraine and resisting Chinese aggressiveness in its neighbourhood.
It would be incorrect to presume that they hold the same views on them. Japan, on the other hand, is a member of the U.S. alliance. While India declined to join the sanctions on Russia, Japan has. India has expressed its displeasure with China’s operations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) but has been reluctant to condemn Beijing’s conduct in other areas, such as the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits. Any change in New Delhi’s delicate balancing act on geopolitical issues would seem a stretch, even at the request of a close ally like Japan, as Mr. Modi is scheduled to visit Hiroshima as a G7 special invitee in May and later host Mr. Xi and Mr. Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit.