India and Japan sign 10-year military pact to counter China in the Indo-Pacific — strengthening the QUAD

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with Indian Prime Minister Narendra ModiBCCL
  • India and Japan have inked a 10-year military pact that will further enhance the cooperation between their armed forces, in what is perceived to be a move to counter Chinese assertion in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Experts believe that the new agreement will strengthen the QUAD — the informal alliance between Japan, Russia, India, and Australia.
  • The agreement was inked between the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, amidst tensions along India and China’s shared border in Ladakh.
As India faces off against China in the far reaches of the Himalayas, there’s another less talked about front where tensions are also brewing between the two countries — the Indo-Pacific and the South China Sea.

To counter China’s growing assertiveness in the region, India’s and its QUAD partner Japan have inked a 10-year military pact that will allow for the movement of supplies and services between their armed forces.

QUAD is an informal alliance between India, Japan, the US, and Australia. It is based on the common interests between them, especially concerning the freedom of navigation. The new agreement will provide some boost to the alliance. They have been meeting almost every month since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe — who is set to leave office next week due to health concerns— inked the deal on September 10. This cooperative framework was first proposed in 2018.

“They concurred that the agreement will further enhance the depth of defense cooperation between the two countries and contribute to peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region,” said the statement issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Former diplomat and distinguished fellow with Gateway House, Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, told Business Insider that to further the QUAD’s effectiveness, not only is internal harmony an essential factor — like the new agreement between Japan and India — but also how each of the countries maintain their relations with other nations in the region like South Korea, New Zealand, and ASEAN member states.

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“Geopolitical dynamics of today tend to accord priority to security over development,” he said.

Amid border tensions with China, experts believe that maritime defence will take centre-stage. The Indian Navy has already deployed ships along the Malacca Straits — the primary point for most ships from China that carry goods into the Indian Ocean.


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