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Kishida’s Visit to New Delhi and the Future of the Indo-Pacific

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida paid a two-day visit to New Delhi on 20 March 2023 at the official invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kishida invited Modi to the G-7 Summit in Hiroshima in May 2023 and also announced a new ‘’Indo-Pacific Initiative Action Plan’’ during this visit.[1] These contacts, which took place simultaneously with the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow, can be considered as an important indicator of regional and global polarization.

The fact that India and Japan held joint air exercises in January 2023 was interpreted as a siege of China from both sides. Although the two countries have been conducting joint naval exercises since 2012, these maneuvers at the airport were a first. As can be understood, India; It has stepped up exercises with allies such as Japan to maintain rules-based order in land, sea and airspace. This could also be interpreted as India’s challenge to China. However, Beijing did not expect such a move from New Delhi due to the tension on the border. As a result of the pressure exerted by the United States (USA) on both Japan and India, the containment of China is about to be completed. Recently, South Korea’s resolving of its historic problems with Japan has also accelerated the process of China’s encirclement.

As a reminder, it was Japan that persuaded India to join the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD). The previous Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, made special efforts to get India involved in this formation. New Delhi, on the other hand, agreed to enter the QUAD at the expense of Moscow. It is clear that Japan has undertaken an important mission here. This task; to include the neighboring states in the anti-China and anti-Russian axis. Today, Japan considers itself to have found a historic opportunity to advance its mission. Because Japan is the current president of the G7 and India is the current president of the G20. Achieving harmony between the G7 and the G20 will give Japan an advantage in the fight against China and Russia.

During his visit to New Delhi, Kishida asked India for help in building a broader and stronger coalition against Russia.[2] In other words, Tokyo forces New Delhi to choose between the axis of global democracy and Moscow. New Delhi, which does not want to take an open front against Moscow due to the critical energy and arms trade, nevertheless tries to stand in solidarity with Tokyo against global challenges such as the Ukraine Crisis, China and Russia. For example, during the G20 meetings, India made special efforts to condemn the Russian-Ukrainian War in its final declaration.

Japan believes that the consensus to be formed at the G20 meetings will increase the success of the G7 Summit. However, as a result of Tokyo’s pressures, New Delhi is unlikely to take an open front against Moscow. But on the point of fighting China, both countries agree. Leaving aside the Japan-China rivalry, it is a surprise development that India is making moves that will lead to regional polarization. In this sense, India’s increasing military support to Japan, Australia and other American allies instead of focusing on Russia inevitably leads China to ally with Russia. In short, the India-Japan rapprochement leads to China’s isolation and re-establishment of an alliance with Russia.

During his contacts in New Delhi, Kishida gave a speech titled ‘’The Future of the Indo-Pacific’’ and the text of this speech was published on the website of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[3] Describing India as an ‘’indispensable partner’’, the vision document highlighted Japan’s strong support for the ‘’Free and Open Indo-Pacific’’. Accordingly, a process in which cooperation and division are intertwined in the international arena is taking place. A critical crossroads have been reached between the continuation or overthrow of the rules-based order.

The countries of the world are being pushed towards a choice between supporting war or defending peace. While the balance of power is changing; The rise of India in this sense is also noteworthy. Japan and India have a historic responsibility to maintain and strengthen a free, open and rules-based international order. G7 and G20 term presidencies are important opportunities to lead the world’s countries to the path of peace and prosperity. This unity expresses support for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, which are seen as an integral part of the international status quo. Against this, Japan places Russia and possibly China.

During the period when Jinping went to Moscow, Kishida visited India and then Ukraine and Poland. Japan is showing a strong will and determination to defend the free and open world order. These visits express strong support for the axis of democracy led by the United States and the United Kingdom.

The leading proponents of the democracy alliance in the Indo-Pacific are Japan and India. Kishida mentioned that this cooperation has ‘’four pillars.’’ These; adhering to the principles of peace and prosperity, creating Indo-Pacific solutions to regional problems, building multi-layered links and expanding security cooperation from the seas to the airspace. Japan has also announced that it will mobilize more than 75 billion dollars in public and private funds to infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific Region by 2030.

As a result, Japan states that it will make an opening to the region together with India as an indispensable partner. Achieving harmony between the G7 and G20 is considered to be a critical issue in the struggle of the axis of democracy against Russia and China. There is an artificial division between ‘’authoritarian’’ and ‘’democratic’’ states in the world and cooperation among themselves. Japan is also seeking to build a strategic partnership with India to strengthen its American-led alliance for democracy.


[1] “The Future of the Indo-Pacific”, MFA Japan, https://www.mofa.go.jp/files/100477791.pdf, (Date of Accession: 21.03.2023).

[2] “Kishida Looks to Convince India to Get Tough on Russia”, Yahoo, https://news.yahoo.com/japan-kishida-looks-convince-india-000000373.html, (Date of Accession: 21.03.2023).

[3] “Policy Speech by Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio”, MFA Japan, https://www.mofa.go.jp/fp/pc/page1e_000586.html, (Date of Accession: 21.03.2023).

Dr. Cenk TAMER
Dr. Cenk TAMER
Dr. Cenk Tamer graduated from Sakarya University, Department of International Relations in 2014. In the same year, he started his master's degree at Gazi University, Department of Middle Eastern and African Studies. In 2016, Tamer completed his master's degree with his thesis titled "Iran's Iraq Policy after 1990", started working as a Research Assistant at ANKASAM in 2017 and was accepted to Gazi University International Relations PhD Program in the same year. Tamer, whose areas of specialization are Iran, Sects, Sufism, Mahdism, Identity Politics and Asia-Pacific and who speaks English fluently, completed his PhD education at Gazi University in 2022 with his thesis titled "Identity Construction Process and Mahdism in the Islamic Republic of Iran within the Framework of Social Constructionism Theory and Securitization Approach". He is currently working as an Asia-Pacific Specialist at ANKASAM.