| Gandhinagar |
Published:September 15, 2017 5:24 am
FROM Tokyo-Kobe in November 2016 to Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar in September 2017, the India-Japan relationship has seen some important changes. The two joint statements show crucial shifts in the areas of terrorism, defence, and the approach towards China.
The joint statement, for the first time, named Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). This is a big leap, in an effort to build a narrative against Pakistan for sheltering these terrorist outfits.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe condemned the growing menace of terrorism and violent extremism. They asked all UN member countries to implement the UNSC Resolution 1267 and other relevant resolutions designating terrorist entities. They underlined the need for all countries to root out terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupt terrorist networks and financing channels, and halt cross-border movement of terrorists. They emphasised the need for stronger international partnership in countering terrorism, including through increased sharing of information and intelligence. They called for enhanced bilateral cooperation in this regard. They also asked Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorist attacks, including the 2008 Mumbai attack and 2016 Pathankot attack. They looked forward to the convening of the fifth India-Japan Consultation on Terrorism and strengthening cooperation against terrorist threats from groups including al-Qaeda, Islamic State, JeM, LeT and their affiliates.
The two Prime Ministers condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations in the spirit of “zero tolerance”. They underlined the need for all countries to effectively deal with trans-national terrorism emanating from their territory. They emphasised that the evolving character of terrorism called for stronger international partnership in countering terrorism, including through increased sharing of information and intelligence. They also asked Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of terrorist attacks to justice.
While statements condemning North Korea have been made before, the recent tests found a mention this time. But, from the Indian perspective, the “importance of holding accountable all parties” that have supported North Korea’s nuclear and missile programme is significant. It obviously points to China and Pakistan, without naming them.
The two Prime Ministers condemned North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, including its recent nuclear test. Recognising that North Korea’s continued pursuit of its nuclear programmes, including the launch of a ballistic missile over Japanese territory on August 29, 2017, poses a grave threat to international peace and stability and global non-proliferation efforts, they urged North Korea to abandon its programmes, not to take any further provocative action, and to fully comply with its international obligations under relevant UNSC resolutions, including the newly and unanimously adopted resolution 2375, and other international commitments. They pledged to work together to deal with the current situation and called on the international community to fully implement relevant UNSC resolutions to maximise pressure on North Korea. They stressed the importance of holding accountable all parties that have supported North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.
The two Prime Ministers condemned North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, and urged it to fully comply with its international obligations and commitments, including under relevant UNSC resolutions, and to take action towards the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
South China Sea . The reference to South China Sea — which was specifically mentioned in 2016 — was dropped. Japanese officials feel this is part of New Delhi’s balancing act with Beijing. Even references to UNCLOS have reduced from four to one.
The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded lawful commerce in accordance with international laws. They also highlighted the importance of peaceful resolution of disputes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, and in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, notably the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The two Prime Ministers also reiterated their desire and determination to work together to maintain and promote peace, stability, and development in the Indo-Pacific region.
The two Prime Ministers reiterated their commitment to respect freedom of navigation and overflight, and unimpeded lawful commerce, based on the principles of international law, as reflected in the UNCLOS. They reiterated their view that all parties should show utmost respect to the UNCLOS, which establishes the international legal order of the seas and oceans. Regarding the South China Sea, they stressed the importance of resolving disputes peacefully.
One Belt One Road
A new irritant in the India-China relationship, India’s objection against OBOR has been backed by Japan. This is a major endorsement of India’s views from China’s neighbour.
The two Prime Ministers underlined the importance to ensure the development and use of connectivity infrastructure in an open, transparent and non-exclusive manner based on international standards and responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, rule of law, and the environment.
Africa, Asia partnership
The Indo-Japan collaboration in Africa, Northeast India and other parts of Asia found mention. But Chabahar was not mentioned specifically, unlike last time.
The two Prime Ministers expressed their strong commitment to work together to enhance connectivity in India and with other countries in the Indo-Pacific region including Africa. They welcomed the deepening of their connectivity dialogue aimed at achieving concrete progress, and decided to further accelerate such an initiative. They welcomed the efforts to explore the development of industrial corridors and industrial network for the growth of Asia and Africa.
The two Prime Ministers underscored the importance of the India-Japan dialogue to promote cooperation and collaboration in Africa, with the objective to synergise their efforts and explore joint projects. They welcomed the prospect of cooperation between the two countries for promoting peace and prosperity in South Asia and neighbouring regions, such as Iran and Afghanistan, through both bilateral and trilateral cooperation, inter-alia, in the development of infrastructure and connectivity for Chabahar.
No breakthrough on US-2, officials said “serious discussions” are going on. But, interestingly, the two are cooperating on “surveillance” and “unmanned system technologies” — a clear reference to high-technology equipment for military purpose, aimed at China and Pakistan.
Enhance defence and security cooperation and dialogues, including the MALABAR and other joint exercises, defence equipment and technology cooperation in such areas as surveillance and unmanned system technologies, and defence industry cooperation. The two Prime Ministers noted recent progress in bilateral cooperation on defence equipment and technology, including the commencement of the technical discussion for future research collaboration in the area of Unmanned Ground Vehicles and Robotics. Japan’s readiness to provide its state-of-the-art US-2 amphibian aircraft was appreciated as symbolising the high degree of trust between the two countries.
Stressing the role of India and Japan for stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, the two Prime Ministers reiterated the need to further consolidate their security and defence cooperation. They welcomed the entry into force of the two Defence Framework Agreements. They underscored the need to further expand defence engagement through greater two-way collaboration and technology cooperation, co-development and co-production, expediting discussions for determining specific items including through the Joint Working Group on Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation.
With the civilian nuclear deal done, the two sides formed a “working group” to enhance cooperation.
The two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the entry into force of the agreement between India and Japan for “cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy”. They looked forward to a working group to strengthen cooperation and reiterated that the agreement reflects a new level of mutual confidence and strategic partnership in the cause of clean energy, economic development and a peaceful and secure world.
The two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the agreement for “cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy”.