Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held his first official summit with U.S. President Donald Trump on Feb. 10 and 11. Being Japan's most important ally, it was crucial for Abe to reaffirm bilateral security and trade ties with the United States. In many aspects, the summit was deemed a great success for Abe. During their joint news conference, Trump called the U.S.-Japan alliance "the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Pacific region" and indicated his administration's commitment to "the security of Japan and all areas under its administrative control."

While there is little doubt about the ability of the long-standing alliance to ride out a few diplomatic storms, uncertainties about the Trump administration's foreign policy direction remain. Such uncertainties pose a risk of strategic miscalculation for Japan, underscoring the need for Tokyo to seek a degree of self-reliance and additional stability beyond the alliance. Under such a geopolitical climate, Japan will benefit from improving ties with other regional players, and it will likely pursue deeper ties with India — a natural partner for Japan.

The 2016 India-Japan summit envisaged a greater regional role for Japan and India. Without the burden of historical baggage or disputes, and with a shared vision for democracy, Japan and India are natural allies and are ready to expand the scope of their economic, strategic and defense cooperation.