Japan and India's symbiotic ties is not new, and goes back to about fifteen hundred years ago. The relationship that started with a spiritual foundation back then, has now taken the shape of a strong bilateral relationship which is both economically and strategically beneficial to the Indian economic development pathway, which demands technological innovation, adoption and financial assistance to do meet its goals.
While Japan and India have other trade partners which are commercially more lucrative, the cooperation of the two countries is holistically positioned with high confidence. More recently, Japan has modestly provided financial and technical support to several infrastructure projects in India which include Delhi Metro, industrial corridors, highways, transport channels and power-plants. Both nations have established a Special Economic Partnership Initiative (SEPI) as part of India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership dated on July 23, 2014. In addition, the two nations also share a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) as on February 2011.
What is common to the development agenda for the two countries, is that both rely on imported fossil fuels which significantly makes the two economies volatile with its market prone to the political disturbances that may arise in oil exporting countries.
The India Japan Global Partnership has identified Environment and Energy for Sustainable Development as an important area to address, resulting in five key recommendations for the two nations:
1. To make Japan possible to use more renewable energy, investment in grids and much better interconnections in the country and probably in the future with Korea and Russia on a regional basis is necessary.
2. We need more efficiency, more renewable bio-fuels, nuclear and carbon capture and storage, and a good combination of good energy market policy, together with technology can make the difference.
3. Collective Security in electricity supply or future energy supply is one of the solution which could be a good model not only for Europe but for East Asia, Japan, China, Korea, Russia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan or ASEAN countries and this kind of international or global thinking is necessary for the energy security of the 21st century.
4. India is at an early stage of building infrastructure and this provides an opportunity to have low carbon technologies implemented in the commercial, industrial and other sectors of the Indian economy. One of the key challenges is enabling an institutional setup for the companies to come and invest in India. There is a need for balancing the pillars of sustainable economic development, social advancement and environmental improvement for the Japanese companies in India, apart from the companies which already exist.
5. India and Japan can work together in energy conservation apart from geothermal power and solar power and R&D to reduce the cost of solar power generation. Joint efforts in tapping wind energy have tremendous scope. There is need for good technologies to apply for power storage, either at a micro scale or a medium scale or a large scale.