Vivekananda International Foundation released a Study on “Framework for Indo-Japanese Strategic Partnership and Cooperation”, jointly conducted with the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals (JINF) on 4th June 2013 at the VIF premises.
Ajit Doval, KC, Director VIF welcomed P A Sangma, former Speaker of the Lok Sabha, one of the Patrons of the Joint Study (the other being Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe), Mr. Yasuhisa Kawamura, Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Japan, New Delhi, and distinguished guests including industrialists and media persons. In his introductory remarks, Doval highlighted that the potential to develop strategic partnership between India and Japan remain largely untapped. The purpose of the study, he said, is to locate various dimensions of Indo-Japanese bilateral relations which can be strengthened further, identify numerous constraints on them and formulate mechanisms to overcome such challenges.
Assessing the prospects of military and security cooperation between India and Japan, Gen (Retd) N C Vij, Dean, Centre for Defence Studies, VIF and former Chief of Army Staff, stressed upon the commonalities of the challenges that the two democracies face today.
Chinese military adventurism, as demonstrated specially along the Sino-Indian border and over Senkaku Islands, bring serious doubt to the notion of a “peaceful” rise of China. Valuating the offensive capability of China, Gen Vij emphasized on the urgent need for India, Japan and other democratic nations in the region to jointly develop sufficient defensive capabilities in order to counter a militarily aggressive and expansive China.
Amb P P Shukla, Joint Director, VIF, followed the discussion with a brief assessment of the prospects of diplomatic and economic cooperation between India and Japan. Amb Shukla highlighted various domestic constraints, as discussed in the Study, which impedes cooperation in finance, defense, and civil nuclear industries. He, however, stressed that India and Japan have both taken vital steps in eliminating some of these constraints and the two nations are set to establish much stronger economic partnership in the next five years.
Kawamura, CDA, Japanese Embassy, thanked VIF and noted that the VIF-JINF joint study will contribute much to the development of ties between the two nations. He underlined that Japan and its people see India as the most promising partner globally and that Japan will seek to build its relation with India based on three pillars: economic, strategic and people-to-people.
Speaking on the occasion, P A Sangma appreciated the diligent efforts put in by working group members from VIF and JINF for concluding the study. He highlighted the tremendous amount of resilience which Indians and Japanese possess in overcoming any crisis situation.
The release function concluded with a brief discussion where some important observations were made, new ideas were suggested and critical questions were answered.