Saturday, January 25, 2014

India & Japan: Looking into Hazy Skies

Tomorrow, for the first time, a Japanese premier would be the chief guest at India's Republic Day parade.

Behind all the symbolism is the bland fact that both sides are living in hope. India hopes that Japan would find some spine and emerge from the shadows of being a US client-state, and Japan hopes that Indians will stop jabbering about "civilizational linkages" and get real about building linkages in trade, commerce and defense.

In today's Indian Express, PD Samanta has come up with some interesting examples. First, the much touted long-term 2012 agreement to supply 4000 tonnes of rare-earths per year to supply rare earths to Japan seems to have fizzled out.  Thanks to a temporary dip in international prices, Japanese firms are trying to drive a hard bargain on long term contracts, and this has turned off DAE.

US1a (pic from MOD, Japan site)
The second  is Japan's offer to sell US2 amphibious aircraft to India. A Joint Working Group is "exploring modalities for the cooperation". In other words this is still in the realm of academic debates, and with the latest crop of corruption scandals in defense purchases, we can rest assured that it will be years before the bureaucrats on both sides decide on anything.

Tomorrow morning, while Mr. Abe peers through a smoggy morning at Russian, US and French-made military aircraft flying across the skies, he might be wondering if Japan too can get a slice of the market. Or maybe he will continue giving us lectures on nuclear abstinence and business etiquette until the next elections.


PD Samanta (Indian Express, 25Jan14)-- ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

US2 - STOL Aircraft -

JWG for US2(ET, May'13) --

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