インド首相来日 経済・安保両面で連携深めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 27, 2010)
Japan, India must deepen security, economic ties
インド首相来日 経済・安保両面で連携深めよ(10月26日付・読売社説)

India, a major power in South Asia, is not only a promising market with a fast-developing economy but also a country that shares concerns with Japan over China's military expansion.

Tokyo should strategically enhance its partnership with India in both economic and security fields.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Japan this week and agreed with Prime Minister Naoto Kan to establish a ministerial-level economic dialogue between the two countries.

Japan has been holding similar ministerial talks with China. But the aftermath of a Chinese fishing vessel's collision with Japan Coast Guard patrol boats off the Senkaku Islands in September has revealed that China, under the single-party regime of the Chinese Communist Party, does not hesitate to use high-handed diplomatic measures over economic and personnel exchanges to push its political demands.

By contrast, India is a democratic country and shares similar values with Japan, such as the rule of law. It does not present the political risks that China does. Besides, India has a population of 1.2 billion, the second largest after China, and maintains a high economic growth rate of 9 percent annually.


Economic enhancement

Enhancement of Japan's economic partnership with India will alleviate the nation's economic dependence on China.

In their summit talks, Kan and Singh also agreed that Japan will help India increase production of rare earths, which are indispensable in manufacturing many high-tech products. India's output of rare earths is far behind China's but is still the second largest in the world.

We think Japan's cooperation agreement with India in this field is very timely because it is an urgent task for Japan to redress the current situation, in which the nation is totally dependent on China for its imports of rare earths.

The two leaders also officially endorsed an economic partnership agreement and promised each other to put it into effect as soon as possible.

With the agreement, India's tariffs on imports of Japanese auto parts and steel would be abolished within 10 years. This would enable Japanese companies manufacturing products in India to drastically reduce the costs of procuring parts from Japan.

The agreement also will simplify procedures for Japanese businesspeople to obtain visas for brief visits or longer stays in India. It will surely help expand business opportunities for Japan in the country.


Security cooperation

Security cooperation between the two countries is significant, too. Japan faces a direct threat from China's maritime expansion in the East China Sea, while India is exposed to a similar threat in the Indian Ocean.

Japan and India should actively utilize vice-ministerial talks between their foreign and defense ministries, which were established at the end of last year, to discuss common strategy regarding China, such as measures to ensure the safety of sea lanes.

The two countries also need to seek partnerships with the United States, and then with the Southeast Asian countries that stand at the forefront of friction with China. To realize this goal, Japan and India, regional powers in Asia, must further deepen bilateral relations.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 26, 2010)
(2010年10月26日01時52分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2010-10-27 07:09 | 英字新聞

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