Japan, India To Ensure Peace In Asia

With China adopting aggressive policies to increase its influence in Asia, Japan and India have decided to strengthen defence ties and boost military co-operation.
Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, who attended the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank that ended in Tokyo on May 7, met his Japanese counterpart Tomomi Inada on May 9 to discuss different aspects of strategic partnership between the two countries. They agreed that it would be important for both New Delhi and Tokyo to work together in order to ensure regional peace and stability.
Jaitley and Inada expressed serious concern about territorial rows in the South China Sea and nuclear and missile threats from North Korea, saying in a joint statement that the planned trilateral naval exercise among the US, India and Japan in July would help strengthen co-operation between these countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
In the presence of Inada, Jaitley explained that India wanted to pursue a strategic partnership with Japan only to make the region “safe” “This is all reflective of the level of co-operation our armed forces have with each other,” he told the press.
Asked whether Japan could potentially complicate the American policy in the region, the visiting Indian minister stressed that Washington were in favour of closer India-Japan military co-operation and a tri-lateral partnership would ultimately ensure peace in South Asia and Asia-Pacific.
Meanwhile, Sarah Watson of Washington-based think-tank ‘Centre for Strategic and International Studies’ said that although “India is sometimes hesitant to work with the US”, the South Asian nation “has fewer issues with Japan – a close US ally with constitutional limits on military engagement”. America welcomes the Indo-Japan co-operation and friendship, she added. Watson admitted that China was another potential key player in the Japanese-Indian-American relationship, saying: “For Japan and India, obviously China is in the background of all these discussions.”
Recently, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that his government would try hard to bolster Japan’s military capabilities in order to counter growing threats from neighbouring China and North Korea. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, expressed concern about the Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean Region and China’s relationship with Pakistan. So, it was expected that India and Japan would join hands to counter the Chinese influence.
However, it is still not clear whether American President Donald Trump will take a tough stance on China. He recently hinted that Washington would work with Beijing to put pressure on North Korea. In that case, there will be a possibility that the Trump administration will not encourage the Indo-Japan defence co-operation.
Watson said that would not be the case. “It doesn’t seem to. And if it does, the people, who would be making and taking that decision, are not in their offices yet. Trump has yet to nominate anyone for 465 of the 556 key positions requiring Senate confirmation,” she added.
Watson believes that the new Senate, too, will most probably support closer military ties between India and Japan.

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