Time for Abe-Modi Doctrine: Order of Rising Asia

By Somindu.S, Ahmedabad, 20 May, 2014

Time for Abe-Modi Doctrine: Order of Rising Asia

Way back in 2012 November, I wrote about Abe and Modi and had predicted that these two leaders will be crucial in transforming bilateral ties for better world. You may read the first detailed article on these two. (https://www.deshgujarat.com/2012/11/25/narendra-modi-and-shinzo-abe-new-order-in-confluence-of-two-seas/) In 2012, both the leaders were facing elections for top post respectively. Abe was running for PM post second time and Modi was running for Gujarat CM for third time. They had met multiple times in India and Japan and hit upon well as natural friends sharing common values and global concerns. It’s a matter of immense pleasure and pride that many Global and Local Media and experts have followed these two leaders of Asia and for right reason.

Importance of Japan

In 2007 Modi was Gujarat CM barely had completed 4 and half years as CM and still was hounded by local media in vilified campaign. Global and local positive press that you read now was absolutely absent. In this backdrop, Japan was the first G7 country to welcome him. To Modi’s credit, every day he spent in Japan he made more colleagues and long lasting friends. Japanese hosts were so impressed by this leader from India that they decided to partner in Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit. Since then there is no looking back. When Abe visited India both of them again met. In 2012, Modi made his second visit to Japan and the country literally threw a red carpet. He was invited as cabinet rank and Ambassador Saeki virtually looked into minute detail of each and every engagement. Read details here: (https://www.deshgujarat.com/2012/07/21/saying-yokoso-swagatam-sms-all-over-again/)

The visit to Japan in 2012 was path breaking in many ways much bigger than 2007 visit. Interestingly even though Abe was not active in politics, he met with Modi and bonding between two continued. When Abe became PM in Japan on 16th December, interestingly Modi was the first one to reach him with congratulatory message via Japanese embassy. It is noteworthy that both Abe and Modi are leaders born in the world after WW-II and Indian Independence respectively. As they grew up, they faced different kind of challenges compared to their predecessors. Their focus in making their own countries as responsible global force is something that sets them apart and makes them leaders to watch for.

Fast-forward 2014:

As Indians created history by giving thumping majority to Mr. Narendra Modi, the world is heaving a sigh of relief. Japan was quick to congratulate. Ambassador Yagi conveyed congratulatory message from PM Shinzo Abe in early afternoon itself. Read here: https://www.deshgujarat.com/2014/05/19/shinzo-abe-calls-narendra-modi15-minute-talk-between-two-leaders/

Abe took the phone and called Mr. Modi on May-19-2014. Modi was very quick in Tweeting back as follows within half an hour and shared his keenness to take Indo-Japan relations to new height. Japan is sincerely hoping India’s next Prime Minister Visit as early as possible.

Why His Japan Visit matters:

Many feel that there are daunting tasks in front of Mr. Modi on domestic front. But some Indo-Japan experts strongly feel that many Indian current problems may have reasonable answer in cooperation with Japan. For that one needs to look at two documents carefully. Indo-Japan joint declaration signed this year and Modi crafted BJP Manifesto has lot of convergence. When I read the Joint Declaration first and later heard Mr. Modi’s speeches during this election campaign I could not resist but write article titled Indo-Japan Joint declaration (JD) sings to Modi Aane Wala Hai Tune….. (https://www.deshgujarat.com/2014/02/07/indo-japan-joint-declaration-sings-to-modi-aane-wala-hai-tune/)

Further Modi’s gesture to Japan was much more evident during one high profile closed-door meeting namely, National Economic Convention 2014. Much before BJP released its manifesto, on February 27, 2014 Modi had called top Bankers/investment bankers along with top diplomats to share his economic vision. (See video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6Subix1UMs) Most of his speech was excellent and full of convincing ideas but without going into specifics for diplomats as there was translation. Except for one place; where he mentioned Japan and potential in renewable energy project especially canal-top solar project. The Japanese diplomats present must have felt overwhelmed and stunned. While Global powers of west are still trying to figure out how to work with Modi, many diplomats would have felt envy of their Japanese counterparts. And that’s where pragmatism of Abe comes in play. Even though MMS was on his way out, Japan pushed broadest agenda ever with India, with eyes fully set on next PM.

When you decipher JD with manifesto these are few common areas you come across (1) Smart Cities (2) Energy Security (3) Renewable and Environmental friendly technologies (4) High Speed Rails (5) Development of North East and linking to ASEAN. These are just but few highlights. Japan has both technology, and affordable capital. Last seen years are wasted as far as Indo-Japan economic relations are concerned. With Abe and Modi at helm there would be increased mutual trust and that may bring in confidence in Japanese to invest with hope.

China Angle:

For Japan India also provides great opportunity as market but there is even bigger angle in this strategic relationship. The China factor; I am not an expert but one of my favourite books tend to be (Red cliff, famed) Three Kingdoms, a Chinese classic and equivalent of Mahabharata. It’s a story of “Three Kingdoms” of different kinds. The most important plot of the book centres around Cao Cao who has hegemonic designs is stopped by North’s Liu Bei and South’s Sun Quan. The book is wonderful if you are interested. What I took as a message from this Chinese Mahabharata is that an alliance of sort can be effective deterrent for peaceful coexistence against hegemonic forces.

Since we are talking about history, there is a bit of important trivia.

More than Two thousand three years back, much before the time of Three Kingdom a man named Vishnu Gupta changed history of India by architecting and creating Maurya Dynasty which was the first regime of united India. He was also known as Kautilya or Chanakya. His contribution goes beyond. Kautilya gave the world’s first book on Political Science especially Diplomacy and Economy. Little he would have known that a road named after him to be precise 11 Kautilya Marg in Chanakya Puri, which hosts Gujarat Bhawan would be the centre of Diplomacy and would hold key to Global economical revival centring on India. The reason is Next Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi has made Gujarat Bhavan his office.

How Modi and Abe can make Difference in Asia

And coming back to my title; I feel its time for both the leaders to come out with new doctrine that could shape future of peaceful and prosperous Asia. Let me extrapolate what I mean here. Sample this. In his February Meeting with top banker and investment bankers, Modi shared that Gujarat is working closely with Japan on one innovative project to solve water and power problem. It is his dream project namely Canal-Top Solar project. If Japanese sustainable technology coupled with affordable capital is utilised in making this project of mass scale, India will gain immensely both on power and clean power front. But imagine taking the same model to say Pakistan or Sri Lanka where the solar radiation matches to Gujarat or TamilNadu, benefits to South Asia’s development could be immense. As both Modi and Abe may agree that “Technology and Trade are best weapons against Terrorism and Trauma” I trust this could be one of the important pillars of Abe-Modi Doctrine.

Once again my best wishes to both great leaders.

Just in

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his first non-Japanese language tweet ever said he looks forward to welcoming Modi in Tokyo.

Interestingly Abe follows only three persons on twitter; his wife, a Japanese historian and Narendra Modi.

Author can be followed on twitter at http://twitter.com/somindus