Japan key to India’s Look East policy

Aug 29 2014, 01:51 IST
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SummaryBoth Japan and India should cooperate and continue to push for the early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations as this will help the two countries achieve their common objective of economic development of the Asia-Pacific region

Nearly a century ago, Rabindranath Tagore wrote that “in this task of breaking the barrier and facing the world Japan has come out the first in the East. She has infused hope in the heart of all Asia.”

Once again, Japan is infusing hope in terms of economic growth in Asia. Through a dose of “Abenomics”, Japan has successfully shrugged off its sluggishness and is showing signs of recovery. Business sentiments have improved tremendously and the ripples of this recovery are being felt in the far corners of the globe.

India, on the other hand, is also witnessing a resurgence of sorts. The Indian economy today is widely seen to be turning the corner and growth is expected to be bottoming out. Both industrial growth and business confidence are on an upswing.

This is an ideal time for India and Japan to give a greater push to their economic engagement and chart out a course for future action and strive to build a strong strategic and global partnership.

India-Japan bilateral relations are based on long-term political, economic and strategic interests, aspirations and concerns and underpinned by a common commitment to democracy, open society, human rights, rule of law and free market economy. Japan and India are natural partners as the largest and most developed democracies of Asia, with a mutual stake in each other’s progress and prosperity.

Japan has always been perceived as a strong and steady partner in India’s progress. In the 1980s, it was the Maruti 800 that transformed India’s automobile industry. Two decades later, with Japan’s support, Delhi changed the way it commuted with the advent of the Delhi Metro.

Now, Japan and India have embarked on their most ambitious multidimensional project together with the construction of the Dedicated Rail Freight Corridor and the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, a $90-billion project for which Japan has already committed over $4 billion in credit.

As a result, Japan has now emerged as the fourth-largest investor in India with an investment of over $16 billion. Much of this investment is in the manufacturing sector. In CII’s interactions with Japanese companies, we have found that the interest in India has not waned. An increasing number of Japanese companies have shown interest in investing in India, particularly in the manufacturing sector.

Strategically, Japan occupies a prime position in India’s Look East policy. Both nations aim to build a strong strategic and global partnership that can be mutually beneficial and also

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