Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first visit to Japan which is his first foreign visit as Prime Minister outside SAARC country is an indication of great importance attached to Japan by PM Modi. After being inaugurated as PM, Modi's first foreign visit to Bhutan was an indication that he accords high priority to even smallest neighbouring countries in SAARC region. In this process he made his second visit to Nepal and was in process of more diplomatic initiative and engagements at various levels to other SAARC countries in order to take the lead in taking on board SAARC member countries in regional development process. Meanwhile Pakistan scuttled this process through its hostile attitude and act towards India. Now in SAARC region, bi-lateral ties with member countries is only viable option for india.
Beyond SAARC nations, PM Modi chose first to visit Japan in place of visiting countries having tag of super power or emerging super power. With emergence of China as a regional power and aspiring to become a global power coupled with its expansoinist policies many countries in Asia and Pacific region feel insecured. The historical baggage which Japan has with emerging China is worrisome for Japan. Japan along with U S may find India as a strategic partner to contain China through cooperation in defence. Similarly, deep strategic relation between China and Pakistan and hostile attitude especially of Pakistan provides a natural option for India to join U S-Japan axis. However, the main problem with India in its defence preparedness due to its dependability on other country for acquisition of sophisticated weapon and equipment, where Japan can come to its rescue as Japan has lot of advance technologies which can be used in defence production. Though Japan is constrained by Article 9 of its constitution. but PM Shinzo Abe has taken initiatives to reinterpret the same favorably. So cooperation in defence through technology transfer and FDI in defence production may be a win-win situation for both India and Japan, where later will beefit from investment and trade and technological capacity building in defence sector.
Another sector of potential cooperation will be infrastructure development in rail, roads, ports, energy and environment which is badly needed in India which PM Modi attach high priority and Japan has technology and capital to invest in these sectors. This will further further provide opportunity to boost the stagnant economy of Japan. Other areas of cooperation may be in cultural field. Both India and Japan has a lot to offer each other in tourism. Cooperation in education and joint scientific reseach could other area of cooperation. So, forthcoming vist of PM Modi to Japan is likely to bring more closer through deep bilateral cooperation in defence, infrastructure and cultural sector.