June 15, 2005


The hype behind India's Japan ties (B Raman, 6/16/05, Asia Times)

Addressing an Asian Security conference at New Delhi in January, Indian Defense Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said, [...] "...Indo-Japan relations, which plummeted after India's 1998 nuclear tests, are now positive and robust. The fillip to Indo-Japanese relations was provided by the August 2000 visit of prime minister Yoshiro Mori, the first by a Japanese prime minister to South Asia in a decade. In his speech he declared, 'Today Indo-Japanese relations also have a strategic importance, which is quite obvious when we glance at the world atlas'. Despite the geographical distance between the two, there is a growing acceptance that India and Japan share a certain affinity on a number of issues. India and Japan have a convergence on energy issues and have joint concerns about the security of sea lines of communications and vital choke points in the Indian Ocean. We also share similar concerns about WMD [weapons of mass destruction] proliferation. Concerns about WMD terrorism are also equally shared. India and Japan also have views about the restructuring of the UN and the Security Council in particular."

Mukherjee thus identified five areas of strategic convergence between India and Japan. These could be divided into the following three components:

Political: A common objective of securing the permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

Economic: Cooperating instead of competing with each other in meeting each other's energy requirements to keep their economies sustained and growing.

Security-related: Shared concerns over maritime and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) terrorism and WMD proliferation. Mukherjee did not name any countries while talking of WMD proliferation, but it was apparent that he had Pakistan and North Korea in mind.

The Indo-Japanese common objective of securing permanent membership of the UN Security Council, for which they have been cooperating with each other as well as with the other two aspirants, Germany and Brazil, cannot really be described as a strategic objective with an enduring vision. Once their present exercise for this purpose culminates in success or failure in the coming months, this objective will cease to be a politically binding factor. Unless, in the meanwhile, they find or identify other, more enduring common objectives, the relationship will become bereft of any long-enduring political glue.

What could be such political glue? This question has not received much attention so far from the strategic analysts of the two countries - governmental and non-governmental. The search for it has to be started and intensified.

One doesn't like to be harsh, but that's the stupidest question we've read in some time. Flesh it out a little and it becomes: What political glue will hold together two U.S.-allied democracies on the Eastern and Western flanks of a crumbling xenophobic nuclear-armed dictatorship?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 15, 2005 8:40 AM

India is also a place for Japanese firms to outsource in a manner similar to American ones. It has the potential to be a tremendous market for Japanese goods and services too.

But then all that is too hard for some Nehru-type Fabian like this goober to comprehend.

Posted by: bart at June 15, 2005 11:23 AM


You fingered a key issue, namely, Fabian socialist goobers. They were the elite strata of India, but their generation is passing. Replacing them are Indians who have seen the error of socialism and the fecundity of market arrangements.

Posted by: Luciferous at June 15, 2005 11:48 AM

They infest the social science faculties of American universities like so many cockroaches, as if the domestic brand weren't embarassing enough. They imbibed all the class prejudice of Imperial Britain and traditional India and are firmly convinced of their own brilliance and the utter inability of the average person whether American or Indian to grasp even the simplest concepts of governance. It never surprises that one finds them to be mostly Brahmins.

Posted by: bart at June 15, 2005 12:11 PM

Well, let's be honest, who doesn't look down on you?

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2005 12:36 PM
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