Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, on a five-day visit to Japan through Wednesday, reached broad agreements to expand bilateral economic ties and security cooperation. It is indeed a positive development for Japan to pursue what the leaders termed a "special strategic and global partnership" with the world's largest democracy, which has a huge market of 1.2 billion people. Still, Japan and India may find themselves talking at cross purposes if Tokyo is seeking closer ties with New Delhi as a means to counterbalance China's growing influence and assertiveness in the region.
During their meeting on Monday, Abe and Modi agreed to consider upgrading the framework of their foreign and defense talks and to regularize joint exercises between the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy. Abe pledged to extend ¥3.5 trillion in Japan's public and private investment and financing to India, including official development assistance, and double Japanese direct investments in India — both within five years.
Abe and Modi welcomed the accord on a commercial contract for production and supply of Indian rare earths to Japan, a move that would help reduce Japan's reliance on China for the supply of minerals vital to the production of high-tech products. They confirmed that the two governments would expedite talks for early conclusion of a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation pact that paves the way for export of Japan's nuclear technology to India.