By Team Q-Tech

The Indo Japanese annual summit highlighted the importance of strategic cooperation in their respective Indo-Pacific visions besides special strategic and global partnership between the two countries on security cooperation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi two-day state visit to Japan in October 18 for annual Prime Ministerial summit between the two countries and interaction with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe,  a range of agreements have been signed which include several significant measures on military cooperation and regional and global security.

The annual summit underlined the importance of strategic cooperation in their respective Indo-Pacific visions. The meeting outlined the way for special strategic and global partnership between the two countries on security cooperation the 2+2 defence and strategic dialogue to the ministerial level. Both the countries have reached an agreement in defence technology research and development.

Till recently trade and investment have dominated relations between two countries and the Indo-Japanese strategic cooperation are catching up. Japan though a world leader in anti-submarine warfare and maritime awareness equipment, has been reluctant to provide defence equipment and technology.  Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which builds the Soryu class vessels, did not respond to an Indian Request For Information (RFI) in 2017 to co-manufacture six Japanese Soryu-class submarines for the Indian Navy. It is understood now separate talks are being held on the issue. Japan has signed an agreement with India for cooperation in the area of Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) and Robotics.  Indian Navy plans for India to buy and manufacture the state-of-the-art US-2 amphibian aircraft is on slow path.

Economic and Infrastructure Development

Japan is one of the largest source of FDI investment into India with $28.160 billion in FDI from Japan between April 2000 and June 2018. Both the countries have also concluded a bilateral currency swap agreement for $ 75 billion, a 50 per cent enhancement over their previous $50 billion currency swap agreement to address possible short-term liquidity mismatches and supplement existing international financial arrangements.

Japan has agreed to strengthen economic and security ties and pledged to extend loans for seven projects. The loans include for a high-speed train system being constructed between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The 500-km railway project will reduce the travelling time between the two cities to two hours from seven hours.

Japan has invested $90 billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, which will see the setting up of new cities, industrial parks, ports and airports, besides a 1,483km high-speed rail and road line. The project has been delayed and may not be completed by 2020.

Various metro rail projects in Chennai and Kochi are moving in slow speed and running behind their respective completion schedules.

Most of the projects funded by Japanese agencies in India are being delayed due to land acquisition and other hurdles.

Japan recently identified more roads it would build or upgrade in the Northeast, including connectors to Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Maritime Domain Awareness

The “Maritime Domain Awareness” (MDA) agreement would enable the two navies to share information about situational awareness in their respective areas of interest. It will help monitoring an oceanic area of interest and more cooperation in this domain.

Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA)

A significant outcomes of the summit is the official start of negotiations between the two countries on an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement, which will grant each of their armed forces reciprocal access to the other's bases and military facilities. An ACSA would allow the military forces of the two countries to mutually provide supplies and services. The Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) will enhance the strategic depth of bilateral security and defence cooperation. The mutual logistics support in the Indo-Pacific Region contributes to regional peace and stability. Agreement allow navies to use each other's bases, either at home or overseas, thereby fundamentally increasing a country's ability to sustain its presence in an expanded region.

Smart Islands

India and Japan have identified the need to develop through co-operation smart strategic islands in India. Given Delhi's renewed focus on developing its Andaman and Nicobar Islands, it is safe to note that smart islands might refer to joint collaborations in these islands. There is a need to considerably upgrade the infrastructure, digital connectivity, renewable energy, waste management, and eco-tourism etc. These islands could alter the Indian Navy's ability to patrol, monitor, and operate in areas further away from the Indian mainland.

The bilateral relationship between the two countries have emerged as genuine strategic partners in the Indo-Pacific region in conceptual, strategic and in economic measures.