Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi must be given credit for a foreign policy that is both bold and innovative. While not forgetting the importance of the India-China-Russia trilateral, he has ensured that another meeting takes place between himself and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and President Donald Trump of the United States. This is a very important relationship with great relevance to the future of Asia. It is important for Asia as well as Europe that no single country or alliance dominates the Eurasian landmass. Once the Eurasian landmass is dominated, it is only a matter of time before such domination extends to the whole world. The reality is that Russia is far and away the biggest country in Europe, while China enjoys a similar status in Asia. Over the years, in part because of the unwise policy of the EU to exacerbate hostile relations with Moscow, both China and Russia are coming ever closer together. The combined economic and defence potential of these two powers has the capacity to become the dominant force in the Eurasian landmass by far. The only way to ensure that such a development does not take place is for the US  to come together with Japan and India. The three countries together have the capacity to ensure that even the Sino-Russian alliance would be unable to have a dominant position in Eurasia, as would have been the case were the US not to ally itself with India in order to help secure primacy over the sea lanes of the Indo-Pacific. NATO in Europe and NAATO (North America Asia Treaty Organisation) in Asia would help ensure the peace in both Europe as well as Asia, even while regular commercial relations continue and indeed multiply with both Beijing and Moscow. The waters of the Indo-Pacific need a core alliance of India, Japan and the US, with Australia joining as well. This is the Quadrilateral Alliance, of which Prime Minister Modi, President Trump and Prime Minister Abe are the architects. The four countries need to bring others into the fold, particularly Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. At the same time, the trilateral alliance of India, Japan and the US need to cooperate in space, so that both space and the sea witness the primacy of these democracies, rather than any other combination of powers. It goes without saying that war is not at all the objective of such a coming together of Tokyo, Delhi and Washington. The purpose is not to spark off a war, but to douse the flames such that any temporary and local conflagration does not get expanded into a war involving the major powers. The waters of the Indo-Pacific should be peaceful and not roiled by violence, even by such relatively minor actors as pirate ships. The Buenos Aires meeting of the leaders of the two of the three biggest economies in Asia with President Trump has a significance far beyond their shores. Under Shinzo Abe, it is clear that Tokyo has emerged as a reliable friend of India. PM Modi returned from his October meeting with Abe in Tokyo with a commitment to extend the Japan-India financial adjustment mechanism from $50 billion to $75 billion. Japan and India are exploring ways by which the two countries can jointly enhance linkages with other countries, both in Asia and Africa. The Navies, Air Forces and Armies of the two strongest democracies in Asia are multiplying their military to military contacts and exercises. The Japan Self-Defence Forces are a powerful weapon with the capacity to deter attacks against Japan and to defend allies of Tokyo. It is time for the entire Quadrilateral Alliance to participate in the Malabar Exercises and for the Modi government to sign the BECA agreement with the US, which at present is the only Foundation Defence Agreement between the US and India that has not been signed. More and more cooperation needs to take place between the US and India in defence production, and in such a context, purchasing greater and greater quantities of materiel from Russia makes little sense. While it is possible to have both a robust defence relationship with the US and a commercial relationship with China, it is not possible to balance India’s growing closeness in matters of defence and security with Washington with its continuance of a policy of keeping Moscow as the primary supplier of defence equipment. In the context of the need to ensure that India should emerge as a major producer of essential defence equipment, Tokyo has the ability of becoming a key partner in co-production. Japan has mastered several defence technologies and seems willing to share several of these with India. The US has offered to transfer entire lines of production of selected defence equipment to India. Such offers need to be  acted upon. Japan, the US and India are natural partners in ensuring joint primacy over the Indo-Pacific and in ensuring that no other power dominate the Eurasian continent. The volume of trade between them needs to increase substantially, while people to people contact needs to grow between Japan and India in the manner they have between Japan and the US and between India and the US. Indeed, there is scope for a considerable flow of talent from India to work in Japan. The Abe-Trump-Modi meeting is an important link in the emerging alliance of the three countries in a manner that protects the peace in Asia and deters countries with aggressive intentions from realising their objectives through violence.

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