Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the state funeral for the former Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe.


India-Japan relations

Historical ties

      • The friendship between India and Japan has a long history rooted in spiritual affinity and strong cultural and civilisation ties dating back to the visit of Indian monk Bodhisena in 752 AD.
      • In contemporary times, prominent Indians associated with Japan were Swami Vivekananda, Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, entrepreneur JRD Tata, freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

Modern ties

      • Post-World War II, India established diplomatic ties with Japan in 1952, marking a defining moment in the bilateral relations and setting the tone for the future.
      • A test of the reliability of Japan as a friend was witnessed in 1991, when Japan was among the few countries that bailed India out of the balance of payment (BOP) crisis.
      • In 2006, both the countries decided to have Annual Summits between the Prime Ministers.
      • PM Shinzo Abe paid an official visit to India in January 2014 during which he was the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations (first ever Japanese PM to be honoured so).

Economic ties

  • India was the 18th largest trading partner for Japan, and Japan was the 12th largest trading partner for India in 2020.
      • Japan’s bilateral trade with India totalled US$ 16.95 billion in FY 2019-20. Exports from Japan to India during this period were US$ 12.43 billion and imports were US$ 4.52 billion.
  • Also, direct investment from Japan to India has been increased, and Japan was the 4th largest investor for India in FY2020.
      • From 2000 until September 2020, the Japanese investments in India cumulatively stand at around US$ 34.152 billion.
      • Japanese private-sector’s interest in India is rising, and, currently, about 1,455 Japanese companies have branches in India.
  • India and Japan also has a Bilateral Swap Agreement (BSA) worth USD 75 Billion.
      • BSA is a two-way arrangement where both authorities can swap their local currencies in exchange for dollars.

Defence ties

      • India and Japan conducts a bilateral military exercise named “EX DHARMA GUARDIAN”.
      • In September 2020, India and Japan signed a key agreement for reciprocal provision of supplies and services between their defence forces. The agreement, called Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), will drive closer military cooperation and contribute to regional security.

Indian diaspora in Japan – Approximately 38,000 Indians live in Japan.


Issues between India and Japan

  • While India can emerge as a large market for Japanese infrastructure system exports (one of the core components of Abenomics), there have been incredible delays in the commencement of the projects. While there is the shining example of the Delhi Metro Rail, the delays with Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC) are disappointing.
  • Japanese companies face considerable logistics challenges and non-availability of uninterrupted power supply constraints their plans for establishing manufacturing plants in India.
  • There is growing anxiety in Tokyo due to soaring costs brought about by haphazard policies of the Indian government, leading both the Japanese government and Japanese firms to start getting bogged down.
  • Tokyo is keen that its military exchanges with India also include Army and Air Force exchanges. An Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement – on the lines of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S., to which India has been reluctant so far.
  • The two-country seems to have different opinion on the current Ukraine crisis. While Japan openly criticised Russia for invading Ukraine, India has not done so publicly.