Two decades ago Japan was in open condemnation of Indian nuclear program which was inclusive of its desire for a collective international economic imposition on India. Howsoever, today the world saw India and Japan cooperating to facilitate the establishment of a high-speed bullet train line between Mumbai to Ahmedabad, the foundation of which has been laid down. So what led to such extensive cooperation between the two nations with such an astonishing history? Why did Japan agree to fund and loan the entire project of US $ 19 billion at a mere 0.01% interest rate?
The answer to the aforesaid questions lies in the global backdrop and the common interest of the two countries. Japan has come closest to India post world war II, acting as a natural ally amidst the rise in dominance of China and the reclusive interest of U.S.A. in the Asian political scenario under the reign of Donald Trump. Ignoring not that Japan has been active in the Indian subcontinent from past few years, but the work of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government in India and the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to work together reflects the change in global political scenario.
The rise of China as a superpower has created an imbalance between the Beijing and its Asian neighbors, wherein China has already dethroned Japan as Asia’s biggest economic power and has a GDP 5 times bigger than that of India. Even its military expedition consists of a defense budget of US $216 which is twice of India’s US $56 billion, and Japan’s US $46 billion respectively. This imbalance is further being contributed by the indecisive policies of the Modi counterpart in the U.S.A. (Donald Trump) which has created a distance in the U.S. – Japan friendship. The Trump administration’s reluctance to provide free and easy trade to Asian countries and impacting a balanced Euro-Asian relation has forced Japan (Tokyo) to look further into India (Delhi).
While the objective of the alliance is ab initio evident, overcoming of the strategic inertia between the two nations remains subjective with a long way to develop a state of art diplomatic alliance between the two. Under Abe and Modi, Tokyo and Delhi have agreed to work together in promoting connectivity and infrastructure in India by pooling their financial and human resources. Although relations between the two has expanded over the last few years, a constructive outcome remains to be seen.