Post-Doklam: Why China is a key factor in India-Japan summit talks

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Japan was the only major power that openly took a position favouring India in the recent military standoff with China at Doklam

india Updated: Sep 14, 2017 09:51 IST

China will be the necessary subtext of the discussions when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe hold the 12th annual India-Japan summit talks – fourth by the two leaders – in Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar on Thursday, sources said.

Japan was the only major power that openly took a position favouring India in the recent military standoff with China at Doklam at India-Tibet-Bhutan tri-junction, which has set a new normal in the way border dispute could play out in their ties.

Both India and Japan have a great deal of commonality on a host of issues and there is also substantial convergence the way they see rise of China, balance of power in Asia-Pacific and international developmental cooperation in third countries, particularly in African continent.

The two countries are also part of G -4 grouping (two others being Brazil and Germany) and would want to become permanent members of the United Nations Security council.

As Abe said in a public message before he arrived in India, the two countries have common interest in India-Pacific region. India-Japan working together would be mutually beneficial in a way that would also counter the growing influence of China in the region, experts say.

India and Japan are focusing on building infrastructure in other countries. The countries in African continent, where the Chinese took definite lead in this area are a case in point.

India giving aid to big infrastructure projects in Africa is a recent phenomenon started by the previous Congress-led UPA II government and is carried forward by the incumbent NDA government.

The Japan is focusing on a “quality infrastructure strategy,” aimed at countering China’s infrastructure development spree in many parts of the world. According to Various estimates China would pump in one trillion USD into Africa as part of its One Road One Belt initiative.

Japan’s overseas development assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa was 226 billion yen in 2015 and the figure for Middle-East and North Africa in the same year was 171 billion yen. Japan is assisting the development of Mombasa port in Kenya, which is a gateway to the East African market, where Indian firms have considerable influence and presence.

Japanese manufacturing companies are also looking for base to set up more of their units and sell their wares in other countries. The setting up of two Industrial parks in Gujarat is part of this strategy.