The Future of Japan-India Security Cooperation


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When: Nov 20 2014 - 12:00pm until Nov 20 2014 - 1:30pm
Where: East-West Center in Washington 1819 L St, NW, Washington, DC. Sixth Floor Conference Room

The Future of Japan-India Security Cooperation

An Asia Pacific Foreign Policy and Defense Seminar featuring:

Ms. Tomoko Kiyota
Resident Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellow,
Pacific Forum CSIS

The Future of Japan-India Security Cooperation from East-West Center on Vimeo.

Ms. Tomoko Kiyota outlines the history of the Japan-India bilateral relationship.

Since Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori visited New Delhi in August 2000, relations between India and Japan have changed dramatically. Remarkably, beyond mere economic or cultural cooperation, the two governments are increasing bilateral activities in the domain of security.

While a number of scholars have explained this new phenomenon as a product of both countries’ mutual concerns about China, they tend to look over the effect that Japan's recent domestic and security reforms as well as their relationships with the United States have on the relationship's trajectory. Keeping these two realities in mind, Tomoko Kiyota discussed the future of India-Japan security cooperation. 

Regarding Japan's domestic reforms, Ms. Koyita highlighted the small but powerful group of military realists that were currently in power in the Japanese government. Like their more mainstream counterparts the political realists, Japanese military realists believe that the US-Japan alliance is integral to Japan's security. However, military realists do not believe that the US alliance can be Japan's sole security mechanism and therefore advocate for greater cooperation with other regional powers as well as an extension of Japan's own defense capabilities. It is no coincidence that President Abe, who has been pushing for the allowance of greater flexibility for the Japanese Self Defense Force (SDF) is also one of the few pro-India politicians in Japan. 

One of the main reasons that India in particular is attracting the attention of the military realists in Japan is its strategic location. Not only does it border Southeast Asia and China, but also the Indian Ocean which many of Japan's Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs) run through. Japan's alliance with the United States comes into play as well, since many Japanese officials believe they can use this established relationship, as well as the United States' own bilateral ties with India, as a jumping off point for greater security cooperation with India. 

What many Japanese politicians fail to see, however, is just how rocky the US-India relationship is and how that affects Japan's relations with India. According to Ms. Kiyota, while relations with the United States have thawed anti-Americanism is still prelevant in India. This is due largely to the perception by many in India that the United States does not respect it as an equal partner; no one in India wants to be seen as the United States' "junior partner." Furthermore, while conducting her research in India, many people whom Ms. Kiyota approached advocated for a more "independent" Japan that did not rely as much on the United States for security. When combined with India's aversion to alliances, this provides an interesting conundrum for where whether or not security cooperation between Japan and India will reach a more comprehensive level in the future. 

 For more images, please visit the album for this event on the East-West Center's Flickr page. 

Tomoko Kiyota is a Resident Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS. Previously, she was a Visiting Fellow at Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal University, Karnataka from April 2012 to March 2014, and also a Visiting Fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) from July 2009 to January 2010. She defended her dissertation on India’s Military-Industrial Complex in March 2014 and soon will receive a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Takushoku University, Tokyo.

Primary Contact Info:
Name: Sarah Batiuk