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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s just concluded Japan visit continues to rile China,with a state-run daily warning that India could get close to Tokyo “at its own peril” and ties with it “can only bring trouble” to New Delhi.
After attacking Japan yesterday accusing it of attempting to forge alliances with India and other neighbours to “encircle China” the ruling Communist Party-run Global Times today came out with an article titled “India gets close to Japan at its own peril”.
Written by a scholar from an official think-tank,the Centre for Strategic and International Affairs of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies,the article with aggressive overtones outlines China’s concerns over the close relations between India and Japan.
“Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh concluded his visit to Japan on Wednesday. The visit,coming after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s recent trip to India,led to speculation in Indian media that it was a balancing tactic against China,” it said.
Noting that Singh’s visit,coming immediately after Li’s visit,was coincidence,it said,”however,adding a day to the visit,initially planned for two days,after the recent China-India border confrontation,prompted speculation about India’s concerns over China in the visit to Japan,” it said.
“Given the long-lasting Diaoyu Islands dispute (Japan calls the islands Sekakus) and China-India border confrontation,there may be some tacit understanding in strategic cooperation between India and Japan,” it said.
“However,India should keep sober over the (Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe administration’s vicious intentions of denying the World Anti-Fascism War as a just war. East Asian countries that were the victims of the World War II won’t indulge Japan”.
“Overheated strategic cooperation with the Abe administration can only bring trouble to India and threaten its relationships with the relevant East Asian countries,” it said.
The article said India’s efforts to develop its ties with Japan are part of its “Look East” policy,which has undergone great changes in recent years.
“In addition to Southeast Asia,the targeted region of the policy has expanded to East Asia and Northeast Asia. It has emphasized more cooperation in the fields of strategy and security in addition to economy,” the paper said.
“As an embodiment of the Look East policy,India has strengthened economic,strategic and security cooperation with countries like Japan,South Korea and Vietnam. It has interfered in the South China Sea disputes in a high-profile manner against the backdrop of the US pivot to Asia.
“Some Indian scholars acknowledge that some parts of the “Look East” policy target China,” it said.
“India and Japan share common ground in developing relations. Both long for the status of permanent member state of the UN Security Council. Japan and India are theoretically complementary in their economies since India is an emerging economy with a huge potential market but constrained by inadequate capital and backward technology.
“Both countries have territorial disputes with China and are unhappy with China’s rise,” it said.
Noting that both countries look to develop their ties on democratic values,it said both hold different attitudes to the priorities of the bilateral relationship.
“For Japan,strategic and security cooperation are more important than economic cooperation. Japanese view large-scale ODA,(Official Development Assistance) investment and economic and technological cooperation as effective means to promote strategic and security cooperation”.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe uses infrastructure construction and the build-up of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor as bait to sell his promotion of “the arc of freedom and prosperity” and the “democratic security diamond,” it said.
“The Japanese government also encourages enterprises to invest in India with the purpose of reducing Indian dependence on China. However,so far,the results of economic cooperation between India and Japan are not satisfactory,” it said.
“From the Indian perspective,cooperating with Japan in strategy and security is a long-term goal. In the short term,India’s main task is to guarantee a peaceful environment to boost the domestic economy.
“Indians well understand that the current India is incomparable to China in strength. The economic ties between China and India are much closer than those between India and Japan. The trade volume between China and India is about four times that of India and Japan,” it said.
Significantly,China itself has about USD 345 billion bilateral trade with Japan. “Indian policymakers are fully aware of the benefits that being a swing state on the global stage can bring to India. Therefore,the core of India’s diplomacy is maintaining a relative balance among big powers,while the China factor is
the best excuse for it to win economic and technological support and assistance from the West”.
“As for the India-Japan relationship,currently,India wants more economic,technological and capital help from Japan,” it said.