By Vishal Sridhar
Edited by Anandita Malhotra ,Senior editor,The Indian Economist
Superstar Rajinikanth’s prominence in Japan is legendary. His blockbuster Muthu, which released in Japan as ‘The Dancing Maharaja’ made our ‘Thalaivar’, a trendy figure in the country. Except for the appalling ‘Kuselan’, his typical larger-than-life persona films including ‘Sivaji the Boss’ & ‘Endhiran’ were huge hits in the ‘Land of rising Sun’. His gestures, dialogues and body language leave the viewers gobsmacked and has helped him to win over millions of hearts across the globe. In fact his ‘signature styled song’ was more than enough for SRK to mint crores from an otherwise mediocre ‘Chennai Express’. Rajini’s unwavering confidence in his abilities set him apart and helps him to combat tough situations. And for Narendra Modi to cross over the upcoming challenges, he needs do a Rajinikanth. Not with a Cigarette, but with his decision-making abilities.
A lot of anticipation and hope are at stake in Modi’s first major foreign trip. So far he seemed to have scored well in the international arena. But the tough times are only ahead when he visits Japan on 30th of this month and immediately hosts President Xi Jinping a week later at New Delhi. By preponing his visit to Japan a day earlier, Modi has already sent strong signals to his Chinese counterpart.
Japan is the world’s third-largest economy in terms of nominal GDP and a long-time friend of India. The bilateral trade between the two countries is just over $20 billion and with the arrival of a pro-business led Government at the Centre, this number is set to rise. Even during his stint as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi had taken various steps to bring in the Japanese to his industrial towns of Ahmedabad, Sanand and Kutch etc. Be in his ability to have Japan as the partnering country in the 2013 Vibrant Gujarat Summit or in his determined initiative to have a branch of Muzuho Bank in Ahmedabad, Modi has always shared close ties with the Japanese. In fact, Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, was one of the first leaders to congratulate him on his landslide victory on May 16th. Their good rapport is huge boost to both the countries, especially amidst the rising Chinese expansionary acts into their respective borders.
Business all the way
On his previous foreign trips to Bhutan and Nepal, our Prime Minister had allowed only about five journalists on board who were handpicked by his ministers. But don’t be surprised if Modi travels to Japan in a full housed aircraft, maybe not with the journalists though. According to Times of India reports, Modi is planning to board the flight with a delegation of Indian Powerhouses from technology, manufacturing and service sectors. Most likely Industrialists including Mukesh Ambani, Azim Premji, Gautam Adani, Chanda Kochhar and Essar Group chairman Shashi Ruia are on board. The report states that Modi’s delegation may also include Dilip Shanghvi, S Ramadorai, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, K Venkataramanan, D K Sarraf and Sunil Mittal.
Several key infrastructural and financial projects are on cards. Civil nuclear cooperation, defence, trade pacts and security issues especially on how to solve their respective border problems are going to be the key areas of discussion. The Government is hopeful of signing a deal for the purchase of US-2 Amphibian aircrafts from Japan. Also a permission to allow the production of such aircrafts back home will help India to provide millions of employment opportunities. A historic defence corporation pact is in store. The traditional partners of Japan have always been the US, UK and Australia. And if such an agreement happens, then it will be Indo-Japan’s first defence Cooperation Agreement.
DMIC and A lot more
Ever since the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) was proposed, Japan showed hints of interests to play a key role in this mega project. And with Modi at the helm, Japan is determined to take a huge pie out of this corridor. Already, inspired by Modi’s ‘Made in India’ brand, Sony is pondering to make India its manufacturing hub in the coming years. Also TOTO, the largest sanitary ware firm, is keen on helping NaMo’s ‘Clean India’ drive. And according to sources, The Government is keen on getting more FDI from Japan to assist her in more industrial corridors, road links and rail links through the North-East to ASEAN countries in the coming years.
Though the meet with Obama is the ultimate, Narendra Modi’s dialogues with Japan and China are hugely significant for India and his ability to come out successfully against his counterparts will cause mild tremors at the White House. Interesting days are ahead!
An aspiring economist, Vishal Sridhar lives in Ashok Nagar, Chennai. He will be graduating from Loyola College in 2015. Apart from Economics, Indian Politics and her history fascinate him. He’s thrilled to scrutinize the NaMo Government and her affiliation with Raghuram Rajan. An enthusiastic learner, he loves to pen down his thoughts on the various economics and political issues. He takes life as it comes and strongly believes that everything in life happens for a reason. He wishes to travel across India to experience her rich culture and traditions. He’s very keen on interacting with people and loves to exchange thoughts on various subjects. Don’t hesitate to connect with him at FB or to drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.