01 June 2016
India and Japan, motivated primarily by shared concerns about China, have been developing a closer defence partnership defined by regular maritime exercises and high-level political consultations. The upward trajectory in strategic ties since 2006 can be maintained, as long as both countries take certain structural limitations into consideration.
Amid growing competition between the United States and China in Asia, the often-overlooked relationship between two secondary powers – India and Japan – has quietly developed into a close security partnership over the past 16 years. Ties now encompass regular military exercises, particularly between their maritime forces, and frequent high-level political consultations. The evolving security collaboration between Asia’s largest and wealthiest democracies will play a critical role in the regional balance of power.
The security relationship between India and Japan has been driven primarily by shared concerns about the rise of China, with which both have politically-charged territorial disputes. For Japan, this includes Chinese assertiveness over the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands, as well as rising anti-Japanese nationalism often promoted by China’s top leadership. For India, the legacy of the 1962 Sino-Indian border war still casts a long shadow. Incursions by Chinese forces along the disputed border with India in 2013 and 2014 stoked tensions. India is also increasingly wary of Chinese dual-use infrastructure projects and political influence in the Indian Ocean region.
… Dhruva Jaishankar is Fellow for Foreign Policy with the Brookings Institution India Centre in New Delhi. He was a Visiting Fellow with the South Asia Programme of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore in 2015-2016. He contributed this to RSIS Commentary.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 02/06/2016