by Sameer Sharma

I read amusingly the article on “PM Modi, Japanese PM Suga hold talks ahead of Quad leaders’ virtual summit” on 9th March 2021.

While the Indian statement did not specify any of the global challenges, Japanese MoFA statement did mention that the Japanese premier raised concerns regarding Chinese aggression and the situation in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and the military coup in Myanmar.

“Prime Minister Suga expressed serious concerns regarding unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China Sea, China’s Coast Guard Law and the situation in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Prime Minister Suga also asked for understanding and cooperation toward the early resolution of the abductions issue by North Korea,” said the Foreign Ministry of Japan.

I have been saying it for a long time like a broken record.

Respected Suga San and Modiji, history will judge you on the actions you take on the common threat and not on mere concerns. The Opponent is dynamic, real, and present. The opponent has hegemonistic mindset. It is spreading its tentacles like a hydra. The aggressive bully is going to laugh at your mere concerns.

Weak societies discuss concerns, strong societies act. It is about time that real action on ground takes shape. The moment of History is for all of us to grasp.

Both nations should move past the ‘years of cooperation’ and ‘shared values’ approach. These mean nothing unless the cooperation is converted into tangible actions which shape the future of these nations.

Areas of Defence and Civil collaboration must be defined clearly. Both nations have a huge role to play ‘on ground’ and not merely in diplomatic corridors. Words will not save us when the enemy strikes. Sharing concerns merely work towards identifying the problem. Ideas will not work unless we all work together and now.

India is working towards creating the Military Industrial Complex through the Defence Corridors. Indian Government has also prepared the list of items which it will not import over next 48 months, and it would focus on defence purchases which are made in India. India is aiming to be an export hub for Defence Equipment in future.

Japanese Self Defence forces have been working closely with the Japanese private sector who are supporting them for their defence needs in all three theatres namely, land, sea, and air. But there is a problem. The Japanese companies have not found the economies of scale for their offerings. This means that the Japanese defence purchases are expensive. Imagine if Toyota was being sold only in Japan. It would be technically superior but would never be commercially competitive.

Without going into further details and plans, if there is seriousness on the table of both Prime ministers, there is a clear roadmap wherein India and Japan can ‘ACT’ together. Else, unfortunately this is a passé statement which will not deter the common opponent from closing in on both the countries.

The opponent has a road map when you have words. This must change.