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Convergence with Japan

Highlights

Andhra Pradesh is seeking the help of Japan in rebuilding the State in the postbifurcation period. But any interaction with others should be a winwin partnership. The noble intent should translate into action. AP should explore specific areas where Japan can be a better partner

Andhra Pradesh is seeking the help of Japan in rebuilding the State in the postbifurcation period. But any interaction with others should be a winwin partnership. The noble intent should translate into action. AP should explore specific areas where Japan can be a better partner

Pursuing Narendra Modi’s ‘Act East foreign policy,’ Chandrababu Naidu is also focusing his attention on Japan. Andhra Pradesh is seeking Japanese assistance in building new capital and beyond. India has a useful partner in Japan due to convergence of interests between the two countries. Until now, China has been the major recipient of Japanese investment abroad. But, of late, Japan is planning to diversify its investment.

This is due to growing realisation in its leadership that China benefited more from its investment. On the other hand, India is wooing foreign direct investment (FDI). In fact, India is already the largest recipient of Japanese Overseas Development Aid (ODA). The new ruling dispensation in Japan is eager to develop strategic and economic relations with India. Thus, the common economic urge can bind the two nations. It can be a win-win partnership. India enjoys the demographic dividend with its young and working age population. On the contrary, Japan is facing the problem of ageing population.

According to an estimate, for every hundred working people in Japan, there are 34 retired persons, whereas the corresponding number for India is only eight. And this contrast will only widen in the future. Given this context, Indo-Japanese partnership can be mutually beneficial. Japan has capital and technology, and India is looking to overcome both the capital and the technology constraints. Both have an interesting convergence in specific areas, too. For instance, the information technology capability of Telugu people is marked by hardware deficit. Japan with its advanced capabilities in electronics can help us in bridging the software-hardware gap. We can also learn from Japanese project management capabilities, too.

China, Japan and Korea have demonstrated their ability to ground projects in time. On the other hand, as the approach paper to the 12th Plan itself acknowledged, our economy suffers from cost and time overruns in execution of key projects. Andhra Pradesh is seeking the help of Japan in rebuilding the State in the post-bifurcation period. It can derive Japanese help in constructing the heritage city as its capital. The new capital is also coming up in a location known for Buddhist history which can also be a point of attraction for Japan. Chandrababu Naidu is also planning to develop the State into a logistics hub.

The State also lacks in manufacturing capacity. Japan can be of great significance here. Likewise, there are many more areas of possible cooperation like waste management, urban growth etc. But any interaction with others should be a win-win partnership. The noble intent should translate into action. Andhra Pradesh should explore specific areas where Japan can be a better partner. There are growing strategic tensions between two Asian powers – Japan and China. India should, therefore, balance its policy between Japan and China in its own interests. Relations with one country need not be at the cost of the other. National interests are supreme in economic diplomacy.

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