India and Japan have been Asia’s two most vibrant democracies. Both countries have shared a warm relationship. This relationship has been founded on pillars of mutual interest and shared universal values. Therefore, strengthening of the strategic partnership between the two countries amidst the dynamic geopolitical realities prove crucial. Against this backdrop Ananta Aspen Centre supported by The Nippon Foundation held a digital session on “India-Japan Digital Partnership: Opportunity for co-creating and co-innovating” with Ambassador Sanjay Kumar Verma, Ambassador of India to Japan and Mr. Rajan Navani, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Jetline Group of Companies.
The first stepping stone in the digital partnership between the two countries was the “India-Japan Digital Partnership” (IJDP) agreement signed during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Japan in Tokyo on 29 October 2018. Recently on 15th January 2021, India and Japan had signed a MoU to enhance cooperation in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), including 5G standardization. Another interesting document to be signed soon increasing the Indian workforce in Japan under “Specified Skills Workforce”. The complementarities are to be focused on and there is a large potential to take those complementarities to take forward and enrich the bilateral relations.
With the growth of Indian start-up ecosystem, Japan has emerged as a key stakeholder making huge inroads into Indian markets. Indian Ambassador to Japan, Sanjay Kumar Verma emphasised on three core values namely, co-innovation, co-creation and co-production reiterating the need for countries to co-innovate, having understood differences in national ambitions but solutions to be similar, hence scaling joint ventures of co-production. Japan is the fourth largest investor in India with SoftBank leading the investment in Indian startup initiatives. However, more cooperation on the Small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) is necessary to encourage business- to- business, society-to-society and people-to-people ties between India and Japan to foster their bilateral growth. Another dimension in the partnership which requires an action plan is the supply chain diversification regionally and bilaterally. Diversification will be largely based on a nation’s investment strategy, talent pool, natural resources and domestic market. Hence, trust building, predictability of domestic environment, quality and logistical capacity of a country will pave the future roadmap in the cooperation of India and Japan.
Moreover, fostering partnerships on joint research activities through academic linkages, pilot projects, simulations, workshops to help diaspora and businesses to remove language barriers, equip workforce with technical skills with regular exposure to workshops, creating understanding of cultural living and ease of doing business was addressed signalling the need to enrich cultural understanding between the two countries.
Over the years and with changing leadership, the positive socio-economic factors backed by diplomatic relations act as a catalyst fueling Japanese strengths to be blended with Indian strengths. Both India and Japan understand that it is time to create real partnerships rather than committing to quick co-relationship in order to realign synergies in the world order largely driven by technology with increasing demands for co-innovation leading to avenues of co-success.
This digital session was a part of a series on “India-Japan Partnership Perspectives”
Please watch the full session on YouTube