India’s Northeast is developing and getting close to its goal of being part of the Indian mainstream in connectivity and business – which is also critical for the success of India’s Act East Policy. For both goals, Bangladesh and Japan are invaluable partners and friends. The troika’s collaboration can be a model in the region.
The Edo era in Japan adopted the Buddhist worldview that placed India at the center of the human world. This was reflected in their maps, till the mid-19th century. The geopolitical context of these spiritual maps wielded a profound influence on Japan’s Buddhist clergy and its laity, a world view that echoes the present.
The Ukraine crisis transferred global anxiety away from China and onto Russia. But this has not happened in the Indo-Pacific, where the Quad countries have followed a policy of economic disengagement from China, in the backdrop of the COVID pandemic and the regeneration of some economies. How the Quad managed this, is a worthwhile assessment.
Russia has been at the center of tensions between the G7 and G20. The current G20 and G7 Presidency has put Asia at the center of global problem-solving and collaboration. India and Japan through its existing strong bilateral and converging interests like economic and financial governance, health, climate commitments and energy transition can bridge the rift between the two multilateral groupings in 2023.
Japan’s recently released National Security Strategy document has pathbreaking commitments to strengthen Japan militarily. It reflects a dramatic change over the last decade, when the national threat for pacifist Japan was largely China. Now North Korea and Russia are included, and a Japan with superior defence capabilities will play a larger role in the Indo-Pacific.
Indonesia has managed its G20 Presidency year by understanding the importance of not going it alone. This trading nation has used its deep regional and multilateral cooperative processes which provided trusted back-up and support at every step, and was book-ended by strong linkages and investment partnerships with Japan and Australia. In this, it has laid the groundwork for India’s 2023 presidency.
The Japan-Africa partnership continues to be emphasised. The goal is to build human capital, sustainable and high-quality growth and the security and stability of the global order in which government, business, and civil society leaders participate on an equal basis. It is an opportunity for Indian companies to work together in Africa, to achieve bilateral goals.
Since 1947, India has had a proud record of development cooperation. It began even though it was newly independent and itself developing, but created a camaraderie with movements in other emerging countries. Now after 75 years, its time to move toward an FDI-led model, which will particularly help reduce the rising indebtedness in the developing world.
The Indo-Pacific region envisages the Indian and Pacific Oceans as a continuum and stands on two central pillars – maritime security and economic development. The public discussions, however, are focused on maritime security, strategy and geopolitics, while economic development has received less attention. This imbalance can be corrected by creating an awareness on how to harness the potential of the region's Blue Economy and its vast resources and opportunities.
The supply of critical minerals, crucial for new and emerging technologies such as electric vehicles, electronics and renewable energy production, faces a significant disruption due to Covid and the Ukraine crisis. As the prices of these valuable resources surge, India can secure its supplies through the sagacious use of financial investments, efficient policies, and propriety technology. A collaboration with Japan can offer multifaceted benefits.