Japan seeks to add India to its plan to curb the growing influence of China in the Indo-Pacific

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi before their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, March 20, 2023. (REUTERS / Adnan Abidi) (ADNAN ABIDI /)

The Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishidainvited on Monday his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modito the summit of Group of Seven (G-7) major industrial countries to be held in May, and is expected to announce a new plan for a Free and open Indo-Pacific designed to counteract the growing influence of China in the region.

On his two-day trip to India, Kishida said that Modi had accepted his invitation to participate in the summit of the G7which will be held in the western Japanese city of hiroshima.

Kishida held delegation-level talks with Modi to deepen cooperation between Tokyo and New Delhialso addressing food security and development financing.

In his statement to the media, Kishida said he had told Modi that at the next G-7 summit he hopes to address the challenges facing the world community from the point of view of defense of international order based on rules and strengthening partnership with the international community that goes beyond the G-7 and includes the Global South.

Kishida held delegation-level talks with Modi to deepen cooperation between Tokyo and New Delhi, also tackling food security and development financing.  (REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)
Kishida held delegation-level talks with Modi to deepen cooperation between Tokyo and New Delhi, also tackling food security and development financing. (REUTERS/Adnan Abidi) (ADNAN ABIDI/)

The two leaders also discussed their priorities for their respective presidencies of the G-7 and G-20Modi stated in a speech.

Kishida stated late on Sunday that during his visit to India he will present his new action plan for a free and open Indo-Pacific vision of Japan, a Tokyo-led initiative aimed at curbing China’s growing assertiveness in the region. The plan is expected to include Japan’s support for human development in maritime security, the supply of patrol boats and coast guard equipment, and other cooperation infrastructure.

Indiawhich leads this year’s Group of 20 industrial and emerging market nations, says that ties with Japan are key to the stability of the region. The two nations, along with USA and Australiaform the Indo-Pacific alliance known as the Quadrilateral (Quad)which counteracts China’s growing influence in Asia.

“This increasingly close relationship is based more on shared fears than in common values”, wrote The Economist in an analysis of Kishida’s trip. “Both countries have long had territorial disputes with a China increasingly aggressive along its northern land border, and with Japan via uninhabited islands Senkaku/diaoyu in it east china sea. Both are wary of the growing Chinese influence in their region and what it will mean for the maritime communication lines on which they depend. Each sees the other as critical to meeting the security challenge posed by China.”

Japan - Senkaku Islands
Japanese Coast Guard off the uninhabited Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea, which Tokyo disputes with China. (AP Photo/Emily Wang, file) (Emily Wang/)

India is the only member of the Quad that has not condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He has refrained from taking sides and has refrained from voting against Russia at the United Nations or criticizing the President Vladimir Putin.

Japanfor its part, has imposed financial sanctions to isolate Russia, including export controls on high-tech products.

In an article published Monday in the daily indian expressKishida affirmed that “the foundations of order in the international community were seen shaken by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine” and that its impact on food access and fertilizer prices was felt by the international community, including the Indo-Pacific region.

“In order to respond effectively to the various challenges currently facing the international community, cooperation between the G-7 and the G-20 matters more. Such pressing challenges include food security, climate and energy, and fair and transparent development financing,” Kishida wrote.

India and Japan share strong economic ties. Trade between the two amounted to 20.570 million dollars in the fiscal year 2021-2022.

Japanese investments in India reached $32 billion between 2000 and 2019. Japan has also been supporting the infrastructure development in indiaincluding a high-speed rail project.

In addition, the Indian and Japanese armed forces are exercising together with increasing frequency; earlier this year they carried out their first joint maneuvers with combat aircraft.

(With information from AP)

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