Much before Japanese premier Shinzo Abe’s visit to India, Japanese investment into India has been on steady rise especially in the infrastructure sector. The growing India-Japan economic cooperation, in fact, is increasingly been seen as a strategic alternative to the Chinese influence in the South Asian region.
Of the 51-paragraph joint statement issued on the first day of Abe’s three-day visit, some half a dozen paragraphs were devoted to cooperation in the field energy and infrastructure. In fact, this sector along with defence cooperation was the most important plank of bilateral talks between the two countries. “If one takes a close look at the joint statement, this one is much more explicit with several hints at the China factor compared to what it was in 2007 (when Abe last came to India). The very fact that the joint statement emphasized on ‘taking into consideration the strategic environment’ is proof enough that the China factor loomed large on the visit,” said Srikanth Kondapalli, chairperson, Centre for East Asian Studies (School of International Studies) in Jawaharlal Nehru University.
On economic relations, though the highlight was expansion of bilateral currency swap arrangement from $15 to 50 billion that came into effect from this month, Japanese official development assistance of over 200 billion yen was negotiated. The two sides agreed that all instruments of funding of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) including the Special Term for Economic Partnership (STEP) should be explored on mutually beneficial terms. Read More