Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Re: India-Japan

aug 8th, 2007

too bad abe is in trouble domestically. india-japani bhai-bhai fits in with the chanakyan axiom that your neighbor is your enemy, so you want to ally with the 'far emperor' who will help you fight your enemy. the 'far emperor' india thinks, is america. on the contrary, i think it is japan, which has the resources, the motivation and the cultural affinity to be our long-term strategic partner: not america, which is into 'international condoms' like pakistan that it uses and then discards.

alas, thanks to nehru, china is our neighbor, after he allowed them to swallow the huge buffer state of tibet (which is 30% of the current land area of china) and had acted as an independent buffer state keeping the hans away from india's borders. therefore, by chanakyan definition, china has to be our enemy. and they demonstrate daily that they are in fact our enemy in no uncertain terms. they ain't coy about it.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brahma

The emerging power disequilibrium in Asia makes an India-Japan partnership critical

 

A yen for closer ties

 

By BRAHMA CHELLANEY

The Hindustan Times, August 9, 2007

 

 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, weakened by a mortifying defeat in upper-house elections, will address the Indian Parliament later this month. This is an honour that US President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao did not get during visits to India last year. India and Japan are Asia's largest and most-developed democracies, and the honour for Abe flows from the recognition that a strategic partnership between the two countries is critical to Asian power equilibrium.

 

Indeed, Japan has never had a head of government so interested in forging close ties with India as Abe. Even before he became PM last September, Abe had identified India as a pivotal partner for Japan in a book he published two months earlier. In Towards A Beautiful Country , Abe devotes three pages to describing how Japan could advance its "national interests by strengthening our ties with India". He says: "It will not be a surprise if in another decade, Japan-India relations overtake Japan-US and Japan-China ties".

 

It is Abe who helped expand the Australia-Japan-US Trilateral Security Dialogue to include India in a separate Quadrilateral Initiative, founded on the concept of democratic peace. Abe's predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, was instrumental in frustrating Chinese opposition and getting India into the East Asia Summit (EAS) initiative, which is to fashion the proposed East Asian Community (EAC). Such initiatives help India to play an important player far beyond its region.

 

            Abe's domestic failings, however, have led to his party's record losses in the recent elections, undermining his leadership and putting a question mark on his political survival. Abe's ascension as PM had symbolized not only the generational change in Japanese politics, but also the rise of an assertive new Japan.

 

Abe retains a comfortable majority in the lower house, but the upper-house losses could encumber the leitmotifs of his nationalist agenda, including the proposed revision of the unique "peace constitution" that the US imposed on a defeated Japan to tame a historically warrior nation. Unlike India's frequently amended constitution, Japan has not amended its constitution even once. Yet Japanese voters have signalled that they care more about the economy than about Abe's idea to create a "beautiful Japan" on the resurrected traditions of the Taika Reform (645 AD) and Meiji Restoration (1868).

 

            As democracies, India and Japan are going to be buffeted by domestic politics. But their democratic traditions, along with a striking convergence of strategic interests in Asia and beyond, help make them natural allies. Both seek UN Security Council reforms and both wish to avert a unipolar Asia. In fact, few countries face such implacably hostile neighbours as India and Japan do.

 

In an Asia characterized by a qualitative reordering of power, the direction of the India-Japan relationship is clearly set towards closer engagement. There is neither any negative historical legacy nor a single outstanding political issue. Public perceptions in each country about the other state are very positive. Many Japanese are still grateful for Justice Radha Binod Pal's role in delivering a dissenting judgement at the 1946 Tokyo Trial, and a commemorative plaque in his honour has been erected at the entrance to the newly renovated Yashukan Museum, next to the controversial Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo.

 

On the 62nd anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan appears poised for strategic doctrinal change. It remains the world's largest economic powerhouse after the US, with an economy still much larger than China's, but with only a tenth of the population. As Asia's first economic-success story, Japan has always inspired other Asian states. Now, with the emergence of new economic tigers and the ascent of China and India, Asia collectively is bouncing back from nearly two centuries of decline.

Asian security will be greatly shaped by the relations between China, India and Japan, and their ties to the US. Booming trade alone won't guarantee security. China is Japan's largest trade partner, but that has not prevented Beijing from aggressively playing the history card against Tokyo. China is India's fastest-growing trade partner, but that has not stopped it from publicly hardening its stance on the territorial disputes.

To maintain the peaceful environment that promotes security and economic growth, Asia's three main powers must build stable political relations. A strong Japan, a strong China and a strong India need to find ways to reconcile their interests in Asia so that they can peacefully coexist and prosper. Never before in history have all three been strong at the same time.

 

In this distinct strategic triangle, if China were A, and India and Japan were B and C, the sum of B plus C will always will be greater than A. That is why India and Japan are bound to become close strategic buddies, even as they attempt to ensure that their relations with Beijing do not sour. But while Japan seeks more space on the world stage, only to be hemmed in by its security dependency on Washington, India fancies closer ties with the US as a way to playing a bigger global role.

 

For India, a strategic and economic partnership with Japan dovetails with its vision of a dynamic, multipolar Asia. That is why the August 2000 agreement during Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori's visit to develop a 'Global Partnership of the 21st Century' has been expanded with the term, 'strategic'. This new 'Strategic and Global Partnership', as Manmohan Singh and Abe agreed last December, is to be centred on "closer political and diplomatic coordination on bilateral, regional, multilateral and global issues, comprehensive economic engagement, stronger defence relations, greater technological cooperation" and "a quantum increase" in other contacts.

 

The incorporation of real security content is intended, as the two PMs admitted, "to reinforce the strategic orientation of the partnership". Defence ties are now developing with ease. All the three Japanese service chiefs visited India last year in a two-month period. With Japan dispatching more naval ships to the Indian Ocean in support of 'Operation Enduring Freedom', India and Japan can conduct naval exercises at short notice. After last year's joint exercises, Indian naval ships visited Japan's Yokosuka base less than four months ago, holding trilateral manoeuvres with Japanese and US forces.

Asia's sharpening energy geopolitics also buttresses the partnership between India and Japan, both heavily dependent on oil imports by sea from the Gulf region. Indo-Japanese strategic collaboration is being necessitated by mercantilist efforts to assert control over energy supplies and transport routes, as well as by strategic plans to assemble a "string of pearls" in the form of listening posts and special naval-access arrangements along vital sea-lanes. If India is to ensure that an adversarial power does not exercise undue influence over regional waterways, it needs not only to guard the 'gates' to the Indian Ocean, but also to join hands with the much-larger Japanese navy, Asia's most powerful.

Given that the balance of power in Asia will be determined by events as much in the Indian Ocean rim as in East Asia, India and Japan have to work together to promote peace and stability, protect critical sea-lanes and stem the incipient Asian power disequilibrium.  

 

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8 comments:

raman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
raman said...

while I dont disagree with Mr. Chellaney's analysis, it shuld be remembered that Japan has been one of the strongest opponents of India's nuclear program. Nor do they support India on any of the other issues so dear to our blessed hearts -- our quest for a permanent seat in the UN; kashmir, etc. Japs, if i am correct, dont like being bracketed with the rest of asia .

nizhal yoddha said...

wrong. japan has supported india's nuclear power program, it opposed the nuclear weapons test of 1998. it has strongly supported india's security council seat (it was china that killed both india's and japan's chances, obviously in gratitude for nehru having refused the seat offered to india "until the chinese had one"). as for kashmir, japan has not actively opposed india.

i think you are confusing japan with china. their people happen to look alike, which is probably why you are confusing them.

get your facts straight before pontificating, especially a newbie like you. you have no credibility or goodwill here unlike some of the old-timers, so your assertions will not be taken at face value.

TallIndian said...

The Japanese have treated India like garbage - paens to Judge Pal notwithstanding.

Forget the stupid UN Seat, Japan led the embargo against India and nuclear technology after the 1998 test. First of all they have US nuclear protection. India has nothing against the Paks and Chinese. So it was none of the Japs business what India did in 1998.

During Kargil, while even the US was supporting India, the Japs (who seemed to have forgotten Judge Pal) remained 'neutral'.

Only when it appeared that Indian economic growth was sustainable (and without significant Japanese involvement) did the Japs make an about face.

With friends like this, who needs enemies?

karyakarta92 said...

>>"i think you are confusing japan with china. their people happen to look alike, which is probably why you are confusing them."

# posted by nizhal yoddha

Rajeev,
I don't mean to be racist or anything. But, actually this confusion should not afflict the trained eye.
Japanese & Chinese tend to have some distinguishing physical attributes - such as color, facial features, mannerisms etc.
Chinese men tend to appear more emaciated, (No doubt caused by genetic memory induced by Maoist famines during the "Great Leap forward").
Also, Japanese women typically are prettier than the Chinese and have class to match.

raman said...
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nizhal yoddha said...

no, japan hasn't treated india like garbage, it's that india has been too busy sucking up to the arabs and the whites and the chinese to cultivate japan.

japan did not lead any embargo against india after the 1998 tests. they did shout a bit, but after all, they are the only victims of a nuclear weapon. the real embargo was led by, yes, you guessed it, china, which wrote the security council resolution that dissed india and threatened it like it was some third-rate banana republic.

and why should japan come and do charity investments in india? *nobody* invests without looking at RoI. it has made a lot of commercial sense for them to invest closer to home, as in taiwan, china and east asia, partly because of language issues.

besides, the japanese are cautious long-term thinkers. they take their time to make decisions; they dip a toe in the waters, test the reaction, and only then jump in, unlike indians, who in fits of naive enthusiasm, shout bhai-bhai and rush in where angels fear to tread. and get their noses bloodied for their pains.

now that maruti-suzuki, honda, toyota etc have had succesful runs in india, there will be more investment. a strategic political alliance will certainly not hurt commercial interests, either.

as for kargil, what was the US's role? they gave musharraf all his weapons, and then "mediated". the japanese just kept quiet, as they usually do, and nobody invited them to intercede either.

you might want to read up on realpolitik, tall-indian. no nation befriends another unless there is benefit to itself. (except nehruvian india, of course -- which has a big sign on its butt saying 'kick me, i'm a naive idiot')

san said...

Well, we also have to remember that Japan's relationship with the US is similar to the one we're averse to having fro the 123 Deal. It's impossible to have a relationship with Japan that will exceed its relationship with the US. Therefore, our relationship with Japan is automatically going to be limited by our relations with the US. It would be nice if we could wean them away from the US, but I'm sure they and we would recognize that India cannot be a substitute for the US relationship with Japan. We just don't have that kind of track-record.