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India – Japan bilateral relations
India – Japan bilateral relations
India–Japan relations have traditionally been strong. The people of India and Japan have engaged in cultural exchanges, primarily as a result of Buddhism, which spread indirectly from India to Japan via China and Korea. The people of India and Japan are guided by common cultural traditions including the shared heritage of Buddhism and share a strong commitment to the ideals of democracy, tolerance, pluralism, and open societies. India and Japan, two of the largest and oldest democracies in Asia, having a high degree of congruence of political, economic, and strategic interests, view each other as partners that have responsibility for, and are capable of, responding to global and regional challenges. India is the largest recipient of Japanese aid and both countries have a special relationship official development assistance (ODA).
Japanese companies, such as Yamaha, Sony, Toyota, and Honda have manufacturing facilities in India. With the growth of the Indian economy, India is a big market for Japanese firms. Japanese firms were some of the first firms to invest in India. The most prominent Japanese company to have an investment in India is automobiles multinational Suzuki, which is in partnership with Indian automobiles company Maruti Suzuki, the largest car manufacturer in the Indian market, and a subsidiary of the Japanese company.
In December 2006, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Japan culminated in the signing of the “Joint Statement towards Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership”. Japan has helped finance many infrastructure projects in India, most notably the Delhi Metro system. Indian applicants were welcomed in 2006 to the JET Programme, with one slot available in 2006 and increasing to 41 slots in 2007. In 2007, the Japanese Self-Defence Forces and the Indian Navy took part in a joint naval exercise Malabar 2007 in the Indian Ocean, which also involved the naval forces of Australia, Singapore and the United States. 2007 was declared “India-Japan Friendship Year.”
At the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Indian Justice Radhabinod Pal became famous for his dissenting judgment in favor of Japan. The judgment of Justice Radhabinod Pal is remembered even today in Japan. This became a symbol of the close ties between India and Japan.
On 15 August 1947, Japan was among the first nations to recognize Indian sovereignty after its independence from the United Kingdom. A relatively well-known result of the two nations’ was in 1949, when India sent the Tokyo Zoo two elephants to cheer the spirits of the defeated Japanese empire.
In India, there was great admiration for Japan’s post-war economic reconstruction and subsequent rapid growth.
In 2014, the Indian PM Narendra Modi visited Japan. During his tenure as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi had maintained good ties with the Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. His 2014 visit further strengthened the ties between the two countries, and resulted in several key agreements, including the establishment of a “Special Strategic Global Partnership”.
Modi visited Japan for the second time as Prime Minister in November 2016. During the meeting, India and Japan signed the “Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy”, a landmark civil nuclear agreement, under which Japan will supply nuclear reactors, fuel, and technology to India. India is not a signatory to the non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is the only non-signatory to receive an exemption from Japan. The two sides also signed agreements on manufacturing skill development in India, cooperation in space, earth sciences, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, transport and urban development.
Yogendra Puranik, popularly known as Yogi, became the first elected India-born City Councillor in Japan, to represent the City Council of Edogawa City in Tokyo. His victory was well received by the mass public and media, not just in India and Japan but across the globe including China.
In August 2000, the Japanese Prime Minister visited India. At this meeting, Japan and India agreed to establish a “Japan-India Global Partnership in the 21st Century.” Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee visited Japan in December 2001, where both Prime Ministers issued the “Japan-India Joint Declaration.” In April 2005, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi visited India and signed Joint Statement “Japan-India Partnership in the New Asian Era: Strategic Orientation of Japan-India Global Partnership.”
Japan is the 3rd largest investor in the Indian economy with cumulative FDI inflows of $30.27 bn during 2000– 2019, contributing 7.2% to India’s total FDI inflows during the same period. The imports to India from Japan stood at $12.77 bn in 2018–19, making it India’s 14th largest import partner.
In October 2008, Japan signed an agreement with India under which it would provide the latter a low-interest loan worth US$4.5 billion to construct a railway project between Delhi and Mumbai. This is the single largest overseas project being financed by Japan and reflected a growing economic partnership between the two nations. India is also one of the only three countries in the world with whom Japan has a security pact. As of March 2006, Japan was the third-largest investor in India.
India and Japan signed an agreement in December 2015 to build a bullet train line between Mumbai and Ahmedabad using Japan’s Shinkansen technology, with a loan from Japan of £12bn. More than four-fifths of the project’s $19bn (£14.4bn) cost will be funded by a 0.1% interest-rate loan from Japan as part of a deepening economic relationship.
To know more about bilateral relations between India and Japan, please download our booklet.