The arrival of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in India for a two-day trip on Monday is seen as an opportunity to review the bilateral ties between the two countries. Since the last summit held in March 2022, India and Japan are both holding the presidencies of the G20 and G7, respectively, making it a significant time to engage on a bilateral level. The partnership between both countries spans various areas, including defence and security, trade and investment, S&T, education, healthcare, and critical and emerging technologies.
During Kishida’s visit to India, the two nations can work on converging interests on important global challenges, such as food and health security, energy transitions, and economic stability. In a press briefing, Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi stressed that Japan is a “very important partner,” and India looks forward to the exchange of views. However, he did not reveal details regarding the talking points of the discussion that will take place between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart.
India and Japan share a “Special Strategic and Global Partnership,” and regular annual summits have been held between the two countries since 2006. Japan is a close partner with which India has both an annual summit and a 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting. Furthermore, India and Japan are part of the Quadrilateral Strategic Dialogue (QUAD), dedicated to working with regional allies who support a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Defense cooperation between the two nations has emerged as one of the key areas of engagement. The successful conduct of the first fighter jet exercise “Veer Guardian” in January 2023 in Japan between the two countries was a significant milestone. Maritime security cooperation, including Navy-to-Navy cooperation, has seen significant progress with a large number of exercises being conducted.
In terms of commercial and economic ties, the bilateral trade between India and Japan stood at USD 20.75 billion last year, which was the largest ever. Japan is also the 5th largest investor in India as a large number of Japanese companies are exploring opportunities in India in several sectors. Moreover, India and Japan have an Industrial Competitiveness Partnership (IJICP) under which both countries are cooperating to promote industrial cooperation between the two countries.
Japan and India launched a Clean Energy Partnership during the Annual Summit held last year. It aims to promote energy cooperation between Japan and India through diverse and realistic energy transitions utilizing all energy sources and technologies to ensure energy security, carbon neutrality and economic growth.