Japan’s Foreign Minister, Fumio Kishida, is currently in India to promote one of Prime Minister Abe’s most important policy goals: increased defense cooperation between Tokyo and New Delhi. Zee News reports:
Japan on Saturday pitched for stronger maritime security cooperation with India, saying both nations should “proactively” assume responsibilities to ensure “open and stable seas” in the region, comments seen as an effort to contain China’s growing assertiveness in South China Sea. […]Japanese diplomatic sources said Japan wanted India to play a central role in the Indo-Pacific region while referring to increasing activities by China in the seas and airspace around Japan, including alleged intrusion into its territorial waters, particularly in Senkaku Islands.Calling Japan and India as the most successful democracies and free nations in Asia, Kishida said leadership from both countries is essential for the Indo-Pacific region. “Both India and Japan are maritime countries whose interests depend on the safety of sea lanes.”
China’s aggressive territorial policies have put its neighbors on alert. None of them can stand up to China alone, but a regional coalition (with U.S. backing) could counter it in the often tense waters of the East China Sea, South China Sea, and Indian Ocean.As the two most powerful Asian countries other than China, Japan and India are the key members of that emerging coalition, so any progress in military cooperation between them is important to follow. The relationship has strengthened over the past few years, and Kishida’s visit to India demonstrates that Abe wants to keep that momentum going. Given how closely aligned their interests are, not to mention how well their respective current leaderships get along, expect to see more from the critical partnership between India and Japan.