Japan Institute for National Fundamental (JINF)-CII Meeting on ‘India Japan Economic Cooperation’, at the Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi, 05 Feb 2019
Opening Remarks by DR Arvind Gupta, Director Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF)

Dear friends,

I would like to thank the CII for organizing this meeting with the Japan Institute for National Fundamental (JINF) delegation. On behalf of the VIF, I extend warm welcome to Madam Sakurai and her colleagues. India and Japan have been engaged over the last several years in developing in strategic partnership. In view of the fundamentals geopolitical shifts under way globally and in Indo-Pacific regions, Indo-Japan Partnership has assumed great relevance.

President Trump’s ‘America first’ policy has raised question about America’s intentions and ability to anchor security architecture in different parts of the world. At the same time the rise of China, its assertive behavior, rapid modernization of People’s Liberation Army and aggressive marketing of the Belt and Road Initiative have raised questions about China’s role and behavior in a new multilateral world. India-Japan strategic partnership can provide peace and stability in the turbulent region. This will, however, require deepening of the different pillars of Indo-Japan relationship.

Economic cooperation is an extremely important aspect of India-Japan cooperation. Our present trade at $15 billion per annum is far below its potential. Japanese investments in India as per Jetro figs are about $ 22 bn. These figures are insignificant compared to Japan-China trade ($ 300 bn) and investment ($ 118 bn). Both sides need to devise ways to improve the situation. Maximum work would need to be done by the private sector. However, it is the responsibility of the two governments to provide a conducive atmosphere to investors and businessmen. Thanks to the efforts of the government in the last few years, India has improved its ‘Doing Business in India’ global rankings. It is hoped that the Japanese companies will step up their investment in India.

The Indian government has launched several programme like ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Startup India’, in which Japanese companies can participate. The Mumbai- Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail project and the 1522 Km long Western Dedicated Freight Corridor will create many opportunities for Japanese businessmen. Already 60 Japanese companies have shown interest in investing in India under the Make in India programme which include areas such areas as automobiles, steel, electronics, IOT and AI. India-Japan cooperation in Skill development is also taking off. Several batches of Indian trainees have received training in Japan. I understand that CII has also sent some trainees to Japan.

India is the 5th largest economy in the world and is the fastest growing economy among the large economies. India hopes to be now a $5 Trillian economy by 2025. For it to become an economy of consequence, India needs to become a manufacturing hub. Japanese companies can help by setting up manufacturing joint ventures in India. There is a lot of scope for Japanese investment in electronics manufacturing in India. The two sides can create manufacturing facilities for the global market. India and Japan can undertake projects in digital manufacturing.

Several new areas have been identified for India-Japan cooperation including agriculture, food processing fisheries, human resources development etc. Bilateral cooperation needs to be increased in newer areas. Joint manufacturing of defence equipment and technology cooperation has emerged as a potential area of cooperation between the two countries. India has an ambitious programme of generating of 175 GW of renewable energy from solar and wind resources. It also has an ambitious programme of manufacturing electric vehicles. Japan and India can set up mutually beneficial partnership in clean energy and energy R&D. They can also explore the potential for cooperation in minerals and rare earths. They can also partner in developing technologies for handling e-waste. India has made rapid strides in developing space technologies. It has launched an ambitious human flight mission which will be accomplished by 2022. Joint R&D between Japanese and Indian entities can also be considered.

The two sides can also consider cooperating in third countries, includes Africa, Central Asia, South Asia & South East Asia. Suitable mechanism will have to be formed. As the strategic partnership between the two counties deepens, more areas of cooperation will open up. The private sector from the two sides needs to show alacrity and agility to take advantages of the new opportunity. As the same time the governments will have to create the conducive atmosphere to facilitate and deepen economic cooperation.

It is hoped that today’s discussion will generate suggestions for further deepening of bilateral ties.

Thank you.

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