Japan-India Relations

March 14, 2024

History

Exchange between Japan and India is said to have begun in the 6th century when Buddhism was introduced to Japan. Indian culture, filtered through Buddhism, has had a great impact on Japanese culture, and this is the source of the Japanese people's sense of closeness to India.

After World War II, in 1949, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru donated an Indian elephant to the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. This brought a ray of light into the lives of the Japanese people who still had not recovered from defeat in the war. Japan and India signed a peace treaty and established diplomatic relations on 28th April, 1952. This treaty was one of the first peace treaties Japan signed after World War II.

Ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have enjoyed cordial relations. In the post-World War II period, India's iron ore helped a great deal Japan's recovery from the devastation. Following Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi's visit to India in 1957, Japan started providing yen loans to India in 1958, as the first yen loan aid extended by Japanese government.

Recent Relations

Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori’s visit to India in August 2000 provided the momentum to strengthen the Japan-India relationship. Mr. Mori and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee decided the establishment of "Global Partnership between Japan and India". Since Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visit to India in April 2005, Japan-India annual summit meetings have been held in respective capitals. When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Japan in December 2006, Japan-India relationship was elevated to the "Global and Strategic Partnership". In September 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an official visit to Japan and had a summit meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They concurred to upgrade the bilateral relationship to “Special Strategic and Global Partnership.” In December 2015, Prime Minister Abe paid an official visit to India and had a summit meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two Prime Ministers resolved to transform the Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership into a deep, broad-based and action-oriented partnership, which reflects a broad convergence of their long-term political, economic and strategic goals. They announced “Japan and India Vision 2025 Special Strategic and Global Partnership Working Together for Peace and Prosperity of the Indo-Pacific Region and the World”, a joint statement that would serve as a guide post for the “new era in Japan-India relations.”

In November 2016, Prime Minister Modi paid an official visit to Japan and had a summit meeting with Prime Minister Abe. In the Japan-India Vision Statement issued during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Japan in October 2018, two leaders reiterated their unwavering commitment to working together towards a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”.

In September 2021, Prime Minister Suga, who was visiting Washington D.C. for the Second Japan-Australia-India-U.S. Summit Meeting, held a summit meeting with Prime Minister Modi. In October 2021, Prime Minister Kishida held a summit telephone talk with Prime Minister Modi, soon after Prime Minister Kishida’s taking office. In March 2022, Prime Minister Kishida visited India for the first time in four and a half years as Prime Minister of Japan. In May 2022, Prime Minister Modi visited Japan for the Japan-Australia-India-U.S. Summit Meeting held in Japan. Prime Minister Modi visited Japan again for attending the state funeral for former Prime Minister Abe. In March and September 2023, Prime Minister Kishida visited India, and in May 2023, Prime Minister Modi visited Japan, and held summit meetings. 2023 is the year in which the two nations hold presidencies of the G7 and G20 respectively. The two leaders confirmed their commitment to work together on various issues in the international community and concurred to further develop Japan-India relations”.

Cooperation in Security Fields

During Prime Minister Singh’s visit to Japan in October 2008, two leaders issued "the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation between Japan and India". There are also various frameworks of security and defense dialogue between Japan and India including Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (“2+2” meeting), annual Defense Ministerial Dialogue and Coast Guard-to-Coast Guard dialogue. In September 2022, the second ”2+2” meeting was held in Tokyo.

On September 9th 2020, the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India Concerning Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Indian Armed Forces (so-called “Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement” or ACSA) was signed. ACSA came into force on July 11th, 2021.

Economic Relations

In recent years, economic relationship between Japan and India have steadily expanded and deepened. The volume of trade between the two countries has increased. India was the 18th largest trading partner for Japan, and Japan was the 13th largest trading partner for India in 2021. Also, direct investment from Japan to India has been increased, and Japan was the 5th largest investor for India in FY2021. Japanese private-sector's interest in India is rising, and, currently, about 1,439 Japanese companies have branches in India in 2021.

At recent summit meetings, The two leaders confirmed that they will promote active investment by Japanese companies in India in light of the 5-trillion-yen target of public and private investment and financing from Japan to India over the next 5 years, which was set on the occasion of Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to India in March 2022, while also concurring on the importance of the Indian side further improving the business environment for smooth operations of Japanese companies in India, including cooperation for the diversification and enhancement of supply chains through the "India-Japan Industrial Competitiveness Partnership". The two leaders also concurred to promote the "Clean Energy Partnership" announced during Prime Minister Kishida's visit to India in March 2022 to achieve carbon neutrality and ensure energy security at the global level, and to promote concrete cooperation in the areas of hydrogen, ammonia and LNG through the "Japan-India Energy Ministerial Dialogue" and other initiatives.

Japan-India Trade (Yen: billion)
Year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Trade from India to Japan 739 589 509 619 585 593 500 744 833
Trade from Japan to India 861 981 889 1,044 1,236 1,176 1,021 1,423 2,018

(source: Japanese government documents)

Direct Investment from Japan (Yen: billion)
Year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Direct Investment from Japan 282 368 564 357 371 522 214 493 641

(source: Japanese government documents)

Economic Assistance

India has been the largest recipient of Japanese ODA Loan for the past decades. Delhi Metro is one of the most successful examples of Japanese cooperation through the utilization of ODA. Japan continues to cooperate in supporting strategic connectivity linking South Asia to Southeast Asia through the synergy between ''Act East'' policy and ''Partnership for Quality Infrastructure.''

Besides, Japan and India had committed to build High-Speed Railway in India by introducing Japan’s Shinkansen System, which is the flagship project of Japan-India relation.

  • Loan: 567.49 billion yen (FY 2022)
  • Grants: 4.67 billion yen (FY 2021)
  • Technical Cooperation: 5.7 billion yen (FY 2022)

Cultural Relations

The year 2012 marked the 60th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and India. Various cultural events took place both in Japan and in India to promote mutual understanding between the two countries, under the theme of “Resurgent Japan, Vibrant India: New Perspectives, New Exchanges.”

During the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Japan in November 2016, the two Prime Ministers declared the year 2017 the Year of Japan-India Friendly Exchanges to further enhance people-to-people exchanges between Japan and India. The year 2017 also marked the 60th anniversary since the Cultural Agreement came into force in 1957. Various commemorating events took place in both countries.

In 2022, Japan celebrates anniversaries with the seven countries of Southwest Asia, including India. Japan has designated 2022 as “Japan-Southwest Asia Exchange Year” with the aim of taking Japan’s relations with the countries of Southwest Asia to new heights.

Number of Residents

  • Number of Japanese nationals residing in India: 8,145 (as of October, 2022)
  • Number of Indian nationals residing in Japan: 43,886 (as of December, 2022)

Bilateral Treaties and Agreements

  • Treaty of Peace (1952)
  • Agreement for Air Service (1956)
  • Cultural Agreement (1957)
  • Agreement of Commerce (1958)
  • Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (1960)
  • Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology (1985)
  • Japan-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (2011)
  • Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India Concerning the Transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology (2015)
  • Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India Concerning Security Measures for the Protection of Classified Military Information (2015)
  • Agreement between Japan and the Republic of India on Social Security (2016)
  • Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (2017)
  • Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India Concerning Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Indian Armed Forces (2021)

VIP Visits

From Japan to India
Year Name
1980 Mr. Ito, Minister for Foreign Affairs
1982 Mr. Sakurauchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs
1984 Mr. Nakasone, Prime Minister
Mr. Abe, Minister for Foreign Affairs
1987 Mr. Kuranari, Minister for Foreign Affairs
1990 Mr. Kaifu, Prime Minister
Mr. Hashimoto, Minister of Finance
1995 Mr. Hashimoto, Minister of International Trade and Industry
1997 Mr. Ikeda, Minister for Foreign Affairs
2000 Mr. Fukaya, Minister of International Trade and Industry
Mr. Mori, Prime Minister
2003 Ms. Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Ishiba, Minister of State for Defense
2004 Ms. Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Nakagawa, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Mr. Motegi, Minister of State for Information and Technology
2005 Mr. Tanigaki, Minister of Finance
Mr. Takenaka, Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy
Mr. Nakagawa, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Mr. Ishikawa, Commandant of Coast Guard
Mr. Koizumi, Prime Minister
Mr. Aso, Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications
2006 Mr. Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Tanigaki, Minister of Finance
Mr. Kitagawa, Minister for Land, Infrastructure and Transport
Mr. Ishikawa, Commandant of Coasr Guard
2007 Mr. Suga, Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications
Mr. Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Amari, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Mr. Matsuoka, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Mr. Fuyushiba, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
Mr. Amari, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Mr. Abe, Prime Minister
Ms. Koike, Minister of Defense
2008 Mr. Nukaga, Minister of Finance
Mr. Koumura, Minister for Foreign Affairs
2009 Mr. Ozawa, Minister of the Environment
Mr. Hatoyama, Prime Minister
2010 Mr. Haraguchi, Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications
Mr. Suzuki, Commandant of Coast Guard
Mr. Naoshima, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Mr. Kitazawa, Minister of Defense
Mr. Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs
2011 Mr. Noda, Prime Minister
2012 Mr. Edano, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Mr. Maeda, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Mr. Suzuki, Commandant of Coast Guard
Mr. Gemba, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Edano, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Mr. Jimi, State Minister in charge of Financial and Postal Issues
2013 Mr. Aso, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister of State for Financial Services
Mr. Kiuchi, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Motegi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Mr. Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress
2014 Mr. Onodera, Minister of Defense
Mr. Abe, Prime Minister
Mr. Shimomura, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Mr. Ohta, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
2015 Mr. Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Miyazawa, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Mr. Sonoura, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Kiuchi, State Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Abe, Prime Minister
2016 Mr. Hase, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Mr. Nakatani, Minister of Defense
2017 Mr. Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Mr. Takei, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Abe, Prime Minister
Mr. Horii, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs
2018 Mr. Okamoto, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Nakane, State Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Mr. Onodera, Minister of Defense
2019 Mr. Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Motegi, Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy
Mr. Yamashita, Minister of Justice
Mr. Date, President, House of Councilors
Ms. Katayama, Minister of State for Regional Revitalization
Mr. Motegi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Mr. Kono, Minister of Defense
Mr. Kajiyama, Minister of Economics, Trade and Industry
2022 Mr. Kishida, Prime Minister
2023 Mr. Akihiro Nishimura, Minister of the Environment
Mr. Suzuki, Minister of Finance
Mr. Hayashi, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Kono, Minister for Digital Transformation
Mr. Kishida, Prime Minister
Mr. Takei, State Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Nomura, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Mr. Nagaoka, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Mr. Suzuki, Minister of Finance
Mr. Kato, Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare
Mr. Nishimura, Minister of Economics, Trade and Industry
Mr. Hayashi, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Akihiro Nishimura, Minister of Environment
Mr. Ogura, Minister of State for Measures for Declining Birthrate and Gender Equality, Minister in charge of Policies Related to Children, Cohesive Society, Women's Empowerment, and Measures for Loneliness and Isolation
Mr. Kono, Minister for Digital Transformation
Mr. Kishida, Prime Minister
Mr. Suzuki, Minister of Finance

Mr. Nagahama, Vice-President, House of Councillors
From India to Japan
Year Name
1982 Ms. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister
Mr. Rao, Minister for External Affairs
1985 Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister
1986 Mr. Tiwali, Minister for External Affairs
1987 Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister
Mr. Tiwali, Minister for External Affairs
1988 Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister
Mr. Rao, Minister for Industry
1989 Mr. Venkataraman, President
Mr. Rao, Minister for External Affairs
1990 Mr. Venkataraman, President
Mr. Ajit Singh, Minister for Industry
Mr. Nehru, Minister for Commerce and Tourism
1991 Mr. Sinha, Minister for Finance
1992 Mr. Rao, Prime Minister
Mr. Solanki, Minister for External Affairs
Dr. Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister
1993 Dr. Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister
1995 Mr. Narayanan, Vice-President
Mr. Mukherjee, Minister for External Affairs
1996 Mr. Chidambaram, Minister for Finance
1998 Mr. Balayogi, Speaker of the Lok Sabha
Mr. Bakht, Minister for Industry
1999 Mr. Jaswant Singh, Minister for External Affairs
2000 Mr. Fernandes, Minister for Defense
2001 Mr. Mahajan, Minister for Information Technology
Mr. Vajpayee, Prime Minister
2002 Mr. Fernandes, Minister for Defense
Mr. Shourie, Minister for Disinvestment
2003 Mr. Jaitley, Minister for Commerce, Industry, Law and Justice
Mr. Ajit Singh, Minister for Agriculture
Mr. Mishra, National Security Advisor
Mr. Shourie, Minister for Information Technology
2004 Mr. Chatterjee, Speaker of the Lok Sabha
2005 Mr. Maran, Minister for Communication and Information Technology
Mr. Nath, Minister for Commerce and Industry
Mr. Elangovan, Minister for Commerce and Industry
Mr. Aiyar, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas
Ms. Chowdhury, Minister for Tourism
Mr. Singh, Inspector General of Indian Coast Guard
2006 Mr. Chidambara, Minister for Finance
Mr. Mukherjee, Minister for Defense
Mr. Nath, Minister for Commerce and Industry
Mr. Shinde, Minister for Power
Mr. Raja, Minister for Environment and Forests
Mr. Paswan, Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers
Mr. Sibal, Minister for Science & Technology; Ocean Development
Mr. Narayanan, National Security Adviser
Mr. Nath, Minister for Commerce and Industry
Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister
2007 Mr. Mukherjee, Minister for External Affairs
Mr. Vaghela, Minister for Textile
Mr. Nath, Minister for Commerce and Industry
Mr. Contractor, Inspector General of Indian Coast Guard
Mr. Kumar, Minister of State for Industry
Mr. Soni, Minister of Tourism and Culture
Mr. Reddy, Minister of Urban Development
2008 Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister
Mr. Nath, Minister for Commerce and Industry
2009 Mr. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor
Mr. Prasad, Minister of Railways
Mr. Krishna, Minister for External Affairs
Mr. Maran, Minister for Textile
Mr. Narayanan, National Security Adviser
Mr. Antony, Minister for Defense
2010 Mr. Nath, Minister of Road Transport & Highways
Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister
Mr. Chopra, Inspector General of Indian Coast Guard
2011 Mr. Bansal, Minister of Parliament Affairs
Mr. Sharna, Minister of Commerce and Industry
Ms. Kumar, Speaker of Lower House
Mr. Krishna, Minister for External Affairs
Mr. Antony, Minister for Defense
2012 Mr. Sahai, Minister of Tourism
Mr. Nath, Minister for Urban Development
Mr. Shashidhar Reddy, Vice Chairman, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
Mr. Krishna, Minister of External Affairs
Mr. Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat
Mr. Alagiri, Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers
2013 MP Muralidharan, Director General of Indian Coast Guard
Mr. Sibal, Minister of Communications and Information Technology
Mr. Khurshid, Minister of External Affairs
Mr. Chidambaram, Minister of Finance
Mr. Sharma, Minister of Commerce and Industry
Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister
Dr. Kumar, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of India
Mr. Moily, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas
Mr. Vasan, Minister of Shipping
Mr. Rao, Minister of Textile
2014 Mr. Modi, Prime Minister
Mr. Naik, Minister of Culture
2015 Mr. Singh, Minister of Home Affairs
Mr. Parrikar, Minister of Defense
Mr. Sinha, Minister of State for Finance
Mr. Prabhu, Minister of Railways
2016 Mr. Goyal, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Col and New & Renewable Energy
Mr. Rijiju, Minister of State for Home affairs
Dr. Panagariya, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog
Mr. Thakur, Chief justice of India
Mr. Jaitley, Minister for Finance
Mr. Modi, Prime Minister
Mrs. Sitharaman, Minister of Commerce and Industry
2017 Mr. Jaitley, Minister of Finance, Corporate Affairs and Defence
[note] Twice
2018 Ms. Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs
Mr. Modi, Prime Minister
2019 Mr. Modi, Prime Minister and Dr. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs
Mr. Singh, Minister of Defence
Dr. Vardhan, Minister of Health and Family Welfare
Mr. Kovind, President
Mr. Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Steel
Dr. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs
2020 Dr. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs
2022 Mr. Modi, Prime Minister and Dr. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs
Dr. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs and Mr. Singh, Minister of Defence
Mr. Modi, Prime Minister
2023 Mr. Bhupender Yadav, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
Mr. Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways, Communications, Electronics and IT
Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs
Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister for Health and Family Welfare
Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister and Dr. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs
Mr. Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry
2024 Dr. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs
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