The potential benefits of an effective rapport between Japan and India were recognised as early as 752 AD. In this sense, historically India and Japan have enjoyed bilateral ties which have begun almost 1400 years ago. India’s relationship with Japan is a partnership with deep rooted friendship bounded by spiritual, cultural and civilizational affinities. Throughout the history of India-Japan relations, the two countries have never been adversaries. Bilateral ties have always remained free of disputes, whether they be ideological, cultural or territorial.
The India-Japan Association is one of the oldest surviving international friendship bodies, having been set up in 1903. The similarities and shared values, including democracy, respect for the rule of law combined with convergence of political, economic and strategic interests, an affinity for pluralism and open society, between India and Japan have served to further strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries over the years.
Recent upswing in bilateral relations
More recently, the two democracies have come together with a mandate of driving ties through economic performance as well as earmarked by the two dynamic Prime Ministers of both countries-Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.
Annual summit meetings
Last year, on 28-29 October 2018, PM Modi and Japanese PM Abe participated in an India-Japan Annual Summit Meeting, where the dynamic leaders reviewed the significant milestones achieved by their countries over the last four years and laid down a shared vision for the future. The two ministers discussed about how to utilise India and Japan’s shared values not only to constitute the basis for the India-Japan bilateral relationship but also to underscore the principles for the two countries to work together for the benefit of the Indo-Pacific region and the world at large. The ministers discussed the progress on different partnership fronts which have been transforming the landscape of both nations in various ways.
Annual Summit meetings are part of the transformative relationship that began since the beginning of the 21st century when annual Prime Ministerial summits were conceived. The idea for a ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ was arrived at in the year the 2014 during the 9th Annual Prime Ministerial summit meeting with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. Both sides had then agreed to establish the ‘India-Japan Investment Promotion Partnership’. PM Abe had pledged to realize public and private investments worth JPY 3.5 trillion and to ensure that of the number of Japanese companies in India doubled over the next five years.
Aim of this knowledge paper
Given this background, the main aim of this knowledge paper is to undertake an overview of both the economies as well as study of economic and commercial aspects of India-Japan relations as they have evolved over the recent years. The idea is to trace the trade and investment relations as well as other issues of common interests which strengthen ties between the countries. The paper documents the opportunities and challenges that two countries currently face in the due process of building further relations.
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