By Bhagyashree Puranik
Edited by Nandita Singh, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
After a phenomenal win in the polls by the BJP, the entire nation has been riding the Modi wave. Within the first few months of coming to power at the centre, Modi has proved his mettle. Starting the process by inviting all the SAARC leaders at the swearing in ceremony, it seems like Modi has chalked out his plan for diplomatic relations and ties with the neighbouring nations. His major foreign visit after becoming the PM was the recent visit to Japan.
The strengthening of ties between India and Japan, thanks to Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, is radical step to ensure peace, and bolster economic support and defence ties. Modi and Abe share great mutual respect and this factor has been influential in the building of good relations between the nations.
A lot of good things have come out of this bilateral meet. Japan aims at investing about 33.6 billion dollars in public and private investment for infrastructure and economic development in India. Modi has also agreed to allow foreign investors in railway projects. Both the leaders also indicated that there would be security and marine defence ties between the two nations to combat and counterbalance possible scenarios rising out of the dominance and ‘expansionist’ aggression of China.
Rather than looking at it from a purely economic point of view, there will be a lot to learn and benefit from the Indo-Japanese relationship. Japan has a rich culture and heritage of its own, and they are known to be extremely hard working people with a strong sense of devotion to work.
Japan is well known for the way it rebuilds itself after terrible calamities, both natural and man-made, that have repeatedly struck this small, but resilient nation. Be it volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear disasters like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the recent Fukushima fallout, Japan, almost like a phoenix rising out of the ashes, has always emerged from its woes to remain one of Asia’s largest economies, probably next only to China and India.
It is approximated that such disasters cost Japan more than a hundred billion dollars in the year 2011 alone. The question to ask is what allows Japan’s economy to sustain blow after blow and still remain strong? Well, it is an intriguing question. Japan is the third largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP. A large part of this is contributed by the service sector. Japan is also one of the leading nations in terms of exports; specialising in automobiles, electronic goods, metals, textiles and chemicals. It is a global leader in scientific research, robotics, bio-medical operations and of course, the ubiquitous bullet trains. A marvelous fact about Japan is that the unemployment rate is very low, at about 4 per cent. Whereas when we see India, in spite of having a competent labour force, it occupies the tenth place in terms of GDP. With relatively good geographical conditions, and despite not having to worry about frequent calamities, India is far from achieving the ‘bullet train dream’.
With Japan as a strong ally, India will definitely progress on all fronts. It will have a great impact on 21st century Asia, since India and Japan can both develop together. The alliance between these two democracies will improve security and sharpen military readiness. Modi’s international diplomacy and economic growth based policies have certainly proved that ‘acche din’ are on their way.
Bhagyashree is an aspiring writer from Hubli, currently in the final year of Electronics and Communication Engineering at PESIT, Bengaluru. Along with carrying out the so called nerdy activities that the engineering domain commands, she has a penchant for poetry writing, novels, sports, economics and the stock market. She is a foodie, a booklover and a die-hard fan of Dan Brown. Bhagyashree is an enthusiast and wants to gain knowledge on as many varied disciplines as possible, just for the joy of it, to be the Jack-of-all-trades. She hopes to write a novel one day.