Japan Chair Platform: Delhi and Tokyo Need to Get Serious
October 29, 2010
Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Japan as part of his three-nation tour of East Asia this week is intended to underline India’s growing role in East Asia and acknowledge that Japan has a crucial role in the emerging security environment of the Asia-Pacific region. Urging Japan to play a larger role in India’s growth story, the Indian prime minister made a pitch for strong Indo-Japan ties. He and his Japanese counterpart, Naoto Kan, have signed a visa pact allowing Japanese workers to live and work in India for three years and the long-awaited Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that has been in the works for the last four years. As part of the CEPA, Delhi will eliminate tariffs on 90 percent of its imports from Japan, with Tokyo removing tariffs on 97 percent of Indian imports. The Indian prime minister had to intervene personally to make sure that the CEPA was in place before his visit to Japan. There were signs of bureaucratic foot-dragging on CEPA, and it is indeed evidence of healthy India-Japan ties that it has finally been signed.