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Asia Minute: India-Japan Alliance Growing

Narendra Modi

Recent political and security developments in the Asia Pacific have focused on North Korea. But a number of diplomatic relationships are shifting relatively quickly in the area. One example involves two of the largest democracies in the region. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in India this week – his fourth visit.

It’s just a two-day trip to the province of Gujarat, but pictures of Abe and his wife are all over Indian media. Especially the ones showing the Japanese leader in a Nehru jacket and his wife in a flowing red Indian salwar kameez.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted Abe at the airport with a bear hug.

The centerpiece of the visit is the start of work on India’s first bullet train from Ahmedabad to Mumbai – a multi-billion dollar enterprise built with financial assistance from Tokyo.

But relations between the two countries go far beyond a rail project and they’re continuing to develop—not only in trade, but also in security—especially as China increases its visibility in the Indo-Pacific region.

A couple of years ago, Japan became a permanent part of the annual Malabar naval exercises involving India and the United States.

This summer’s exercises were the largest in the Indian Ocean in more than 20 years, and for the first time included aircraft carriers from all three navies.

That hasn’t escaped notice in Beijing.

A columnist for the state-run China Daily warned India to be careful when it comes to military cooperation – urging India “to not become a simple piece of the U.S.-Japan chessboard.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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