News / Economy

Modi to Visit Japan to Cement Defense, Economic Ties

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the launch of a campaign aimed at opening millions of accounts for poor Indians in New Delhi, Aug. 28, 2014.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the launch of a campaign aimed at opening millions of accounts for poor Indians in New Delhi, Aug. 28, 2014.
Anjana Pasricha

India's prime minister is heading to Japan Saturday for a five-day visit to shore up defense and economic ties. The blossoming relationship between the two Asian countries is partly driven by their mutual need to counterbalance China, with which both have territorial disputes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a broad agenda. He is seeking more Japanese investment in manufacturing and infrastructure. He is also eyeing a breakthrough civil nuclear cooperation pact, which could open the door to India importing nuclear fuel and technology from Japan.
 
China concern

The two countries will discuss an agreement to bolster defense coordination and the possible sale of Japanese amphibious search and rescue planes to the Indian navy. Besides the Japanese prime minister, the Indian leader will meet the Japanese defense minister.
 
Strategic expert Bharat Karnad at New Delhi’s Center for Policy Research says worries about an assertive China are driving them into a closer security partnership.
 
“You have Japan at one end and India at the other in terms of bookending China. It is one way of fencing in China even as both countries continue with their trade and economic relations that they have with Beijing. So that is not at stake. What is that you are building up by way of a hedging strategy this aspect of military cooperation that might give Beijing a second thought should it get too aggressive or too expansive in its policies and ambitions,” said Karnad.
 
India has a long festering border dispute with China and is concerned about being encircled by a string of ports Beijing is building in neighboring countries. Tensions between Japan and China have escalated over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
 
But trade is as much the driving force that has prompted the Indian prime minister to make Japan his first overseas stop outside of South Asia.
 
Trade and investment

Modi is accompanied by a large business delegation. He is looking for Japanese support in building high-speed railways and smart cities that are part of his agenda to take India further into the 21st century.
 
Manoj Joshi at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi says a sense of mutual advantage is bringing Asia’s second- and third-largest economies together. 
 
“Japan is a country with a great deal of high technology, it has got investable resources, it is already playing a huge role in our infrastructure construction," said Joshi. "Since we have a requirement for many, many more times that, so we look at Japan as a good partner from our point of view. Japan is also looking at us because it has been having problems in China, so many Japanese companies are looking to India as kind of hedging their bets with regard to China. So the Japanese see us a huge market.”

In a signal that Japan wants to reduce its dependence on China, the Nikkei daily in Tokyo has reported that the two countries are expected to sign a deal to jointly produce rare earth metals in India, which Tokyo sources from Beijing.
 

FILE - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, June 5, 2014.FILE - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, June 5, 2014.
x
FILE - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, June 5, 2014.
FILE - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, June 5, 2014.

Modi is no stranger to Japan - he visited the country twice when he was chief minister of Gujarat state and met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on both visits.

Bharat Karnad says the well-known rapport between Abe and Modi is expected to boost the relationship.
 
“It is the glue that is going to cement relations. They get along well, they basically see the world in similar terms. Both are nationalists, both are right of center, their values are in sync, their economic thinking is in sync,” said Karnad.
 
Modi is one of three people Prime Minister Abe follows on Twitter. In some Twitter diplomacy before his visit, the Indian leader has Tweeted in Japanese and English, saying “Japan’s friendship with India is time-tested, we are two vibrant democracies committed to advancing peace and democracy in the world.” 

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9115
JPY
USD
123.92
GBP
USD
0.6554
CAD
USD
1.2443
INR
USD
63.800

Rates may not be current.