Japan, India must show solidarity in response to Russia’s heinous actions

Russia’s heinous actions must be stopped, and efforts must be made to restore the damaged international order. It is important for each country to build consensus on the matter and respond to it in solidarity.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has visited India and held talks with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi.

In a joint statement, the two leaders expressed their “serious concern about the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.” In addition, they stressed the need for an immediate cessation of military action and the resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy.

Kishida requested that Modi directly approach Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I was able to confirm in-depth cooperation with Prime Minister Modi,” Kishida told reporters after the meeting.

India has only recently joined the Quad, a framework for cooperation among Japan, the United States, Australia and India, but the country traditionally maintains a stance of nonalignment and has deployed omnidirectional diplomacy. It has a close relationship with Russia mainly through the purchase of weapons.

At the U.N. General Assembly’s emergency special session, India abstained from voting on a resolution condemning Russia, making conspicuous its difference of opinion with the United States and Europe, which are increasing pressure on Moscow.

The joint statement did not specifically condemn Russia by name, apparently in consideration of India’s position. However, it is significant that Japan and India have clearly shown their strong will not to allow the status quo to be changed by force in any region.

The United States and Europe are concerned that India may purchase Russian crude oil and natural gas, instead of following the imposition of sanctions on Moscow. It is important for Japan to continue urging India to act in solidarity with the international community.

Failure to make Russia pay for its invasion of Ukraine could allow China to further mount coercive pressure in Asia. India also has border disputes with China and certainly does not want the international order to be shaken.

At the meeting, the two leaders confirmed a policy of expanding their cooperation to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific.

They also agreed to hold a 2-plus-2 meeting with their foreign and defense chiefs at an early date, and to promote cooperation over maritime security in the East and South China Seas. This would serve as a check on China’s military rise.

Kishida has announced that Japan will provide India with ¥5 trillion in investment and financing over five years. India has the second-largest population in the world and is expected to grow into an enormous market, surpassing that of China. It is hoped that the two nations will actively promote economic cooperation.

The Quad summit is scheduled to be held in Japan sometime in the first half of this year. It is essential to expand strategic partnerships so that India can cooperate with Japan, the United States, Europe and Australia in a wider range of fields.

— The original Japanese article appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun on March 21, 2022.