On Saturday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited India. He held a frank talk with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which the threat that China poses to world security was comprehensively discussed. Additionally, the need to preserve a free and open Indo Pacific was reiterated. When looked at keenly, one would notice that Japan is carving an independent Indo Pacific policy alongside India – with the prime focus of both countries being that of containing China.
The world is in a bad shape right now, and much of it has to do with Joe Biden. The Democrat septuagenarian has made it a mission to let China off the hook. China, as we all know, is the single greatest threat to world peace, stability and order. Yet, the Biden administration is incessantly working to turn all countries hostile towards Russia, in the backdrop of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Japan has always had its reservations when it comes to Joe Biden. Now, with China being allowed a free run, and a bonhomie appearing to grow between Biden and Xi Jinping, Tokyo knows what it needs to do.
Strengthening Ties with India
Over the next five years, Japan will invest 5 trillion yen ($42 billion) in India. The investment will push for public-private partnerships in India. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, during his visit on Saturday, pushed for growth in direct investment in terms of value, as well as an increase in Japanese companies expanding into India.
According to Nikkei Asia, Kishida was also poised to agree to an approximately 300-billion-yen loan during his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In addition, an energy cooperation document concerning carbon reduction was to be signed. Japan will also ramp up infrastructure development in India with the goal of drawing Japanese companies to build factories in the South Asian country.
Indo Pacific a Priority
Apart from India, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s tour also includes Cambodia. Essentially, Japan is prioritising the Indo Pacific, at a time when the Biden administration is ignoring the crucial region. Japan is a foundational member of the Quad – whose sole aim is to contain the rise of Chinese belligerence and aggression across the Indo Pacific.
Quad was always meant to be a China-centric security platform. It never envisioned taking on Russia, or other global powers. Yet, with Joe Biden around, the core mandate of the Quad is being diluted, and the group is being used for anti-Russia activism.
Prime Minister Modi has so far been the only leader to have cautioned Quad against deviating from its mandate of keeping China in check. It seems Japan’s Fumio Kishida has realised that Russia cannot be the sole focus of the democratic world, and therefore, he is taking steps to ensure that an anti-China coalition is formed in the Indo Pacific, minus the United States of America.
At least until Joe Biden is around, Japan and India will work together with Southeast Asian countries to hold China accountable and prevent it from swallowing the South China Sea. Japan is aware of the risks that will arise if the threat emerging out of China is ignored right now. Russia is not a threat to the Indo Pacific; China is. India and Japan, and scores of other countries are part of the Indo Pacific. Therefore, for such countries, China is the primary threat and must be neutralised.
But you see, that neutralisation is not possible with Joe Biden around. So, India and Japan seem to be working on a non-Biden Indo Pacific coalition that will send shivers down the spine of Xi Jinping. By 2024, when Donald Trump is likely to make a comeback, the United States can once again become a part of this coalition.