Context:

In the first-ever official development assistance (ODA) project in Andaman & Nicobar (A&N), Japan has approved grant aid to improve the power supply in the A&N islands along with loans for executing four projects, including Delhi Metro’s Phase 4 and Bengaluru Metro’s Phase 2.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (International Agreements and treaties of Importance to India)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. India – Japan Relations
  2. Highlights of Japan’s Assistance to India
  3. Importance of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

India – Japan Relations

  • Exchange between Japan and India is said to have begun in the 6th century when Buddhism was introduced to Japan, which spread indirectly from India to Japan, via China and Korea.
  • India and Japan, two of the largest and oldest democracies in Asia, having a high degree of congruence of political, economic and strategic interests, view each other as partners that have responsibility for, and are capable of, responding to global and regional challenges.
  • Post Japan’s defeat in World War-II, a relatively well-known result of the two nations was in 1949, when India sent the Tokyo Zoo two elephants to cheer the spirits of the defeated Japanese empire.
  • Japan and India signed a peace treaty and established diplomatic relations in 1950s.
  • The British occupiers of India and Japan were enemies during World War II, but political relations between the two nations have remained warm since India’s independence.
  • Japanese companies, such as Yamaha, Sony, Toyota, and Honda have manufacturing facilities in India, and with the growth of the Indian economy, India is a big market for Japanese firms.
  • In 2006, India culminated in the signing of the “Joint Statement Towards Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership”.
  • Japan has helped finance many infrastructure projects in India, most notably the Delhi Metro system.
  • In 2016, India and Japan signed the “Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy”, a landmark civil nuclear agreement, under which Japan will supply nuclear reactors, fuel and technology to India. (India is the only non-signatory of NPT to receive an exemption from Japan.)
  • India and Japan have shared interests in maintaining the security of sea-lanes in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean, and in co-operation for fighting international crime, terrorism, piracy and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
  • The two nations have frequently held joint military exercises and co-operate on technology.

Highlights of Japan’s Assistance to India

  • This is the first-ever ODA project in the strategic islands of Andaman & Nicobar (apart from humanitarian emergency assistance) to improve the power supply in the islands, stressing the strategic geopolitical location of the islands for an open Indo-Pacific.
  • The grant would be used to procure batteries as well as power system stabilisers to allow better utilisation of solar power generated in South Andaman.

Importance of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of 572 islands at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.
  • The A&N Islands spans 450 nautical miles in a roughly north-south configuration adjacent to the western entrance to the Malacca Strait, which is itself a major Indian Ocean chokepoint and straddles some of the busiest trade routes in the world.
  • Geopolitically, the A&N Islands connects South Asia with South-East Asia. While the northernmost point of the archipelago is only 22 nautical miles from Myanmar, the southernmost point, Indira Point, is a mere 90 nautical miles from Indonesia.
  • The islands dominate the Bay of Bengal, the Six Degree and the Ten Degree Channels that more than sixty thousand commercial vessels traverse each year.
  • The A&N islands also provide near 30% of its Exclusive Economic Zone even with just 0.2% of India’s landmass.
Geological map of the Andaman Islands (after Pal et al. 9 ) showing... |  Download Scientific Diagram

-Source: The Hindu

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