The New Plan of Japan for an Open and Free Indo-Pacific
GS 2 India & Foreign Relations International Organisations & Groupings
- Japan recently presented “Japan’s New Strategy for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP) and engaged in discussions over the expansion of the “Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership.”
Japan’s New Plan for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific:
Need of FOIP
- Japan’s FOIP emphasises that, in light of the current geopolitical landscape characterised by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, East China Sea, the Indian Line of Actual Control, and the Taiwan Straits, there is a need to give this concept of “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” a new impetus and momentum.
Key highlights of FOIP
- The New Plan for the FOIP emphasises the necessity of maintaining a rules-based order and respecting each other’s territorial sovereignty.
Role of India & other groupings
- Japan’s FOIP policy believes that the dynamism created by the combination of two continents – Asia and Africa – and two oceans – the Pacific and the Indian – is essential for the stability and prosperity of the international community.
- It has been mentioned that Japan should work alongside other like-minded countries in the region, with India billed as a ‘indispensable’ partner.
- It also emphasises the significance of the centrality and unity of the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN) for the stability and development of each country and the region as a whole.
Four pillars of cooperation
- It is acknowledged that Japan must do considerably more in the region, and “four pillars of cooperation” have been identified under the new FOIP:
- Principles for peace and norms for prosperity;
- Handling difficulties in an Indo-Pacific manner;
- Multi-layered connectivity; and
- Expanding security and safe usage of the “sea” to the “air.”
Elaborating on FOIP’s Four pillars of cooperation:
Principles for peace and rules for prosperity
- In the first pillar, it is stated that vulnerable nations typically suffer the most when the rule of law deteriorates. Japan desires to join in economic development initiatives such as advocating the application of the G-20 Guidelines for “Quality Infrastructure Investment.”
Addressing challenges in an Indo-Pacific way
- Under the second pillar, Japan envisions the extension of collaboration for the FOIP by adding realistic and practical projects in a variety of fields, including climate change, food security, global health, and cybersecurity. | Japan has long been engaged in bilateral connectivity initiatives with other nations in the Indo-Pacific area.
- Under the third pillar, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the South Pacific/Pacific Island countries have been designated as regions in which to introduce additional such programmes.
- Japan has pledged an additional $100 million to the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund;
- It will promote the Bay of Bengal-Northeast India industrial value chain concept in collaboration with India and Bangladesh; and
- The new Palau International Airport Terminal project (an archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean) has also gotten underway with Japan’s support.
- Its significant connectivity initiatives include the East-West Economic Corridor, the Southern Economic Corridor (in South West Asia), the North East Connectivity Development Project (in India), the Bengal Bay Industrial Growth Zone, and the Mombasa/Northern Corridor, among others.
Security and safe use of the “sea” to the “air”
- Under the fourth pillar, Japan will assist other nations in enhancing the capacities of their marine law enforcement organisations.
- Towards these goals, Japan will:
- Implement the “strategic use of Official Development Assistance (ODA)”,
- Revise the Development Cooperation Charter and Set forth ODA guidelines for the next ten years, and
- Introduce a “offer-type” cooperation and a new framework for “private capital mobilization-type” grant aid.
- Japan also declared that it would “mobilise” more than $75 billion in public and private financing for infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific region by 2030.
Challenges before the Indo-Pacific:
- Japan’s new strategy focuses on the myriad difficulties facing the Indo-Pacific, including the Ukrainian crisis, food security, and cybersecurity, as well as issues such as preserving freedom of the seas and connectivity, among others.
- The report highlights piracy, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), natural catastrophes, and efforts to alter the status quo as major threats facing the region.
Non-uniformity on international order
- Another challenge highlighted is the lack of a united stand on “what the international order should be” the differing position of countries on the Russia-Ukraine war has brought this issue to the fore.
Growing Chinese belligerence
- In the past, Japan’s prime minister stated, “Ukraine today could be East Asia tomorrow,” demonstrating Japan’s concern over the increasing Chinese aggression in the region.
Impact on India & way ahead:
Japan’s investment plans in India
- During the 46th joint meeting of the India-Japan Business Cooperation Committee, the Japanese ambassador to India stated, “A global survey conducted by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) revealed that India tops the list of future investment targets for mid- and long-term investment.”
- On his recent visit to India, the Japanese prime minister announced plans to invest 5 trillion yen over five years.
- Japan is the fifth-largest investor in India, with over 1,450 companies already operating there.
Cooperation & skill development
- With the signing of Memorandums of Cooperation on the Technical Intern Training Programme (TITP) and Specified Skilled Worker (SSW), the two nations are also working on skill development and the migration of skilled employees.
Focus on Northeast India
- In addition to ASEAN, South Asia, particularly Northeast India, has been the second primary focus of Japan’s foreign policy.
Resolve to lead
- As Japan and India inherit the G7 and G20 Presidency, respectively, both nations have committed to renew their commitment and do their utmost to lead the Indo-Pacific region and the global community.
Daily Mains Question
[Q] exemplify for India and the Indo-Pacific region the significance of Japan’s New Strategy for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).