16 December 2015 10:41:29 IST

Indo-Japan partnership aimed at counter balancing China: Daily

Cooperation of India and Japan on nuclear power a turning point in latter’s nuclear policy

The ‘Special Strategic Global Partnership’ struck by India and Japan during the recent visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India is aimed at counter balancing China to emerge as regional powers, a state-run Chinese daily said today.

“Behind this special partnership is the ambition of the two countries to become regional powers and even global powers. It also reveals their intention to counterbalance a rising China,” an article in the state run Global Times said.

“The Japan-India ‘Special Strategic Global Partnership’ is becoming a reality. However, such special partnership seems to be fragile, given China’s firm economic ties with both, the two’s different preferences for strategic security and economic technologies and the gambling mentality of the leaders from both sides,” it said.

Pressure on China

Tokyo and New Delhi are hoping to impose pressure on China by clinging to the other, but at the same time, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Abe are making efforts to improve ties with China.

“Neither wants to be the first one to clash with China, while both are prepared to seek gains from the other side’s conflicts with Beijing,” it said.

Referring to a number of agreements such as high-speed rail and defence technology and civilian use of nuclear power, it said, “Abe has achieved all his aims from his India visit and described the agreements as heralding a new era of cooperation between the two nations.”

“Whether this is a new era for the two is open for discussion. But what’s clear for India and Japan watchers is that Abe is pushing forward bilateral ties regardless of the costs,” it said in apparent reference highly concessional loans offered by Japan to bag the first high speed rail deal between Mumbai and Ahmedabad putting pressure on China, which is also trying to bag the bullet train contract in India.

Turning Point

“Knowing Abe’s intentions, Modi has made contrived promises to lure Abe making more compromises or even abandoning his principles,” it said.

“The cooperation of India and Japan on nuclear power and defence may exert a huge impact on the Asian landscape. The signing of the MoU indicates that Japan has steered away from its persistent principles by cooperating for the first time with a country that has not joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It means Japan admits that a country without joining the NPT can own nuclear weapons.

“This is a turning point in Japan’s nuclear policy,” it said.

“In addition, the cooperation with India in defence facilities and technologies is the first time that Japan transfers large-scale military equipment to a foreign country after Japan announced the Three Principles on Transfer of Defensc Equipment and Technology and abandoned its long-held Three Principles on Arms Exports,” it said.

“Through the above mentioned cooperation, the Abe administration hopes to draw close security and defense relations with India so as to establish the ‘democratic security diamond’ that Abe has been relentlessly pursuing since 2007,” it said.

“Modi has also given returns. The joint statement with Abe mentioned the South China Sea for the first time to show his support for Abe’s involvement in the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.”

Back in October when New Delhi invited Tokyo to join the Malabar exercises, India’s policy on the security of the Indian Ocean had changed, the paper said.

It also shows the maritime part of Abe’s “democratic security diamond” that aims at containing China is almost in place”, it said.

“Japan hopes to help India become an economic giant and benefit from the results. It also shows that Japan is determined to compete with China along the route of the ‘One Belt, One Road’,” it said.