New Delhi: Favouring greater interaction
between Indian and Japanese navies, former Japanese Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday said the two sides should work
closely with the US to secure the sea lanes of commerce and
ensure a stable Asia.
The Japanese leader said that with its plans of having a
three aircraft carrier Navy, India can keep the Asian sea
lines stable and such a step can assure Vietnamese, Americans,
South Koreans "if not the Chinese".
Abe said that the Americans have been providing "safety
and stability" to sea lanes of commerce since the 1950s but
expressed concerns over the fact that the "hegemon may get
skinny and its muscle weaker".
"I shall put it that way that let `Popeye` eat spinach
for a while. In the meantime, let us India and Japan work
together with the Americans, so that there will be no
strategic void," he said, while addressing a gathering at the
Abe was speaking on the topic `Two democracies meet at
sea: For a better and safer Asia`.
Abe said if India and Japan worked "hand in hand,
shoulder to shoulder, the Indonesians will join us, not to
mention all other freedom loving nations.
"Let us work even more closely together with the US,
Australia and other maritime democracies to invest in building
a robust, open, liberal and safe and stable East Asia
Summit-led Asia," he said.
Pointing out that China will remain both an "opportunity
and a risk" for a long time to come, he said the US is
destined to become weaker in relative terms.
"But let us not be confused and jump into the wrong
bandwagon and choose a wrong partner. In America, we see the
oldest democracy. In China, we see an autocracy, both the
oldest and newest in the making as it is still in the making,"
the former prime minister said.