With China in mind, Japan, India agree to deepen defense

Lester Mason
September 17, 2017

China today evinced interest in reviving its proposal to build high-speed railway projects in India which has chosen Japan as a partner for the country's first such venture.

We know that resolving disputes by directly concerned parties to uphold freedom of navigation and over-flight is China's position.

Hua Chunying said at a news briefing, "You also mentioned Act East policy".

Hua said the boundary between India and China was yet to be settled: "There are disputes over the eastern section of the China-India boundary".

Beijing's reaction came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart PM Shinzo Abe announced increased Japanese investment in infrastructure projects such as road connectivity and electricity in the northeast, the gateway to Southeast Asia.

Indian experts say India's alliance with Japan, the United States and Australia are indeed a major concern for China.

"We agreed on a Japan-India Act East Forum which will essentially explore the possibilities of involving Japan in the development of North East infrastructure", Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said. The joint statement and comments by the two Prime Ministers in Gandhinagar also sent out a similar message that will be read closely in China on several counts.

In the past, the Modi government has issued direct mentions of the South China Sea dispute in its past joint declarations, specifically with the U.S. in 2014, under the presidency of Barack Obama.

China's foreign ministry spokesperson, however, clarified that both India and Japan can play a constructive role for developing mutual trust and cooperation between regional countries and the peace, stability and development of the region.

The joint statement also said India and Japan are committed to freedom of navigation and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the Indo-Pacific region, though it did not include a reference to the dispute in the South China Sea. China and Japan have a dispute over the uninhabited islands called Senkakus by Japan and Diaoyu islands by China in the East China Sea where naval ships of both the countries aggressively patrol the waters around the islands. For example, Mr. Abe said North Korea was a "joint" challenge for India and Japan, and the statement contained a phrase about holding countries "that have supported North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes" accountable, obviously aimed at Pyongyang's benefactors in Beijing.

India and Japan have agreed to enhance defense ties in what is being seen as a clear cut message to China.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article