Fifty-seven countries have signed up as founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a China-led regional institution to promote infrastructure investments in Asia. Japan and the United States are both absent from the list. At this stage, Japan and the U.S. are withholding their participation due to numerous concerns regarding the bank's governance and transparency.

In my January column for this publication, I emphasized the need for Japan to join the AIIB, but here I would like to again set out the strategic significance of Japan's membership.

First of all, Japan should consider the AIIB as a strategic challenge for the nation to work with other countries in Asia to build a regional architecture and order. With or without Japan, the process of regional order building in Asia will press on. It would be delusional for Japan to think otherwise. There is an enormous demand for infrastructure across Asia, particularly in India. Japan's grand strategy for the 21st century must be to create robust cooperative ties with India by assisting in its development. Japan should then view the AIIB as an instrument to promote India's development by making ample use of Chinese money.