January 16, 2006Foreign Affairs

Prioritising Japan

Transforming relations with Japan should be on India’s agenda this year

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Shinzo Abe, who many people believe will succeed Junichiro Koizumi as prime minister of Japan, put it very correctly. Not only do India and Japan have common interests, they are also generally well-disposed towards each other. Yet, the pace at which the bilateral relationship has grown leaves much to be desired. Fortunately he has clearly declared an interest in putting relations with India on a more important track.

We need not only to look at Japan-China relations but also to have a bird’s-eye view of the whole of Asia or the world when we engage in diplomacy with Asian nations,” he told the public broadcaster NHK on Sunday.

For example, there is another Asian power — India, which has common values with Japan such as freedom, democracy, basic human rights and rule of law.

Our relations with India have been relatively weak though it is a country very friendly to Japan,” he said, arguing it was important to strengthen ties with this country a lot more and forge strategic relations.” [AFP/Yahoo]The Indian government would do well to seize the opportunity to engage Japan in a strategic bilateral relationship that encompasses trade, energy, security and geopolitics. If it does so, 2006 may yet be the year that transformed India’s relations with yet another natural partner.

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