Tokyo summit and possibilities for India

Chanakya IAS Academy

Paper: III

Topic: International relation, Diplomacy, foreign policy, economic development

Relevance and use of the article in UPSC prelims and mains examination: Dear aspirants this article is about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tokyo for yet another annual summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on November 11 & 12. This is the third summit between the two leaders and the second one to be held in Tokyo. The last two summits saw India and Japan carrying forward their relations to new levels. This partnership is about a “special strategic and global partnership” heralding the dawn of a new era. In 2015, the summit met in New Delhi and issued the India-Japan Vision 2025 that talked about an action-oriented partnership.


  • Partnership between India and Japan has been buttressed by a vast institutional network and has enjoyed a great degree of continuity despite political changes, there is no doubt that the upcoming summit will become one more significant milestone in the rapidly expanding bilateral interactions.
  • Relations between the two until very recently were narrowly focused on economic matters such as development assistance, trade and investment; but now they have diversified across a wide range of interests, including regional cooperation, maritime security, counter terrorism, nuclear disarmament, U.N. reforms, climate change and energy cooperation.  
  • Both countries have steadily maintained the momentum of their relations since the last summit meeting.In July this year both discussed the prospects of expanded cooperation in the defence sphere. Japan has become a regular participant in the Malabar exercises. Follow-up talks on the high speed railway system between Mumbai and Ahmadabad have been going on satisfactorily.

Current summit:

  • There is an expectation that both countries will  finally settle satisfactorily the two most important issues that have been hanging fire for many years. The first one relates to the conclusion of the agreement on civil nuclear cooperation. As is well-known, the initial efforts for the agreement were started in 2010 itself, but subsequently, the Fukushima disaster of 2011 put a spoke on   the progress of the negotiations. It was only after 2013 that the two countries resumed their talks. Finally, in December 2015, both Abe and Modi agreed in principle to sign the agreement after finalizing the technical details, including those related to the necessary internal procedures like parliamentary approval.
  • But given the fact that Japan will sign a civil nuclear agreement for the first time with a non-signatory to the NPT, makes Abe navigate the issue carefully, giving due consideration to the strong domestic antipathy to nuclear energy. His quest to restore the importance of nuclear power to the pre-Fukushima years still remains a distant dream.

Japan’s concern and India’s hope:

  • There are reports that the Abe government is still inclined to insist on the inclusion of a nullification clause in the agreement that would state that if India decided to conduct a nuclear test in future, Japan would have the option to terminate the agreement.
  • India for its part emphasizes its own strong commitment to nonproliferation goals and argues that the assurances that it gave to the US at the time of signing the US-India nuclear agreement  in 2008 are sufficient  for the present bilateral agreement too. In addition, India believes that it has enhanced its transparency in its nuclear infrastructure by ratifying the additional protocol with the IAEA in 2014.

Civil Nuclear Agreement

  1. The proposed civil nuclear agreement first time when India is seriously pursuing its admission to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the agreement would send a message of trust to the members of the Group.
  2. Second, the agreement would ensure the availability of many key Japanese nuclear technologies to India. Further, unless the two countries sign an agreement, India will not be able to enjoy the benefits of its earlier agreement with the US. American companies like the Westinghouse and General Electric are virtually owned by Japanese giants like Toshiba and Hitachi and they will not be able to set up their reactors in India without an agreement between India and Japan.

Extra issues:

  1. Purely from a commercial angle, Japan will stand to benefit a great deal by promoting cooperation  with India. In the coming decades, India will need to promote clean energy as part of its  development strategy and Japan will be a useful partner in setting up its advanced nuclear plants in India. Of course, as the partnership progresses, both countries will have to address issues such as India’s reprocessing needs, nuclear liability issues, etc.
  2. The growing strategic convergences between the two courtiers and the mutual  benefits they would gain from  the  agreement could drive them  to hammer out a settlement. both countries will ultimately use their wisdom to strike a practical balance between their energy needs and non-proliferation goals.
  3. The second issue that needs to be settled  pertains to the sale of Japan’s endogenously manufactured US-2 amphibious aircraft. Both countries have been conducting talks for well over two years. Defence cooperation is one area which offers numerous opportunities for closer partnership.
  4. The India-Japan deal on the US2 amphibious aircraft has been dragging on due to differences on issues like pricing, mode of purchase and technology transfer.


  • Considering their own convergent security interests in the Asia-Pacific region, there is a strong realization in both countries to push through the deal during the present summit.
  • There are many other areas such as maritime security, cooperation in the modernization of  India’s railways system, connectivity projects, etc, where the two leaders will seek to lay out a road-map for  deepening the partnership.  On the whole, the forthcoming Tokyo summit will be one more important milestone in the rapidly unfolding partnership.


“In a regional environment where a US-led containment strategy against China has no future, there is an urgency to reset the sights and rethink old assumptions” In the lights of this statement discuss about the importance Delhi-Tokyo Strategic partnership to maintain harmony in the south east Asian region.

Suggested Points:

  1. Discuss about the political and strategic situation of the southeast Asian region.
  2. Highlight the importance of India and Japan alignment in the era of regime change in USA and role of China.
  3. Discuss about the current partnership of India and japan.
  4. Deals between both countries in various fields.
  5. Need of both nations to check china in the region.
  6. Role of defence and civil nuclear deal.
  7. Suggestions.
  8. conclusion.



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