‘Japan-India ties cause of concern to China’

Japanese and Indian navies are also expected to hold their first joint drill next year.

Last Updated: Dec 30, 2011, 13:29 PM IST

Beijing: Japan`s move to lift decades-old
ban on arms exports as well as its efforts to strengthen ties
with India and deepen defence cooperation with it are a cause
of concern to China, the state-run media here said.

Japan`s decision, which would allow its companies to take
part in arms development projects with countries other than
the US, was followed by a USD 15 billion currency swap deal
between Japan and India, `China Daily` reported.

Japanese and Indian navies are also expected to hold
their first joint drill next year.

The daily noted that Japan had just concluded its
first-ever trilateral dialogue with the US and India in
Washington.

Japan`s moves toward boosting its military might will
send alarming signals across Asia, it quoted Shi Yinhong, a
researcher at the China Institute of International Studies in
Beijing, as saying.

An arms trade between Japan and India may further deepen
tensions in the Asia-Pacific because China is a potential
target of the two evolving strategic partnership, Zhao
Gancheng, director of the South Asia research department at
the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, claimed.

"In terms of political safety, (Japan) wants to counter
China by linking with countries such as the US, India and
Australia. But on the other hand, it is aware of the fact that
Sino-Japanese relations are a prerequisite for its quest to
become a normal country. So personally, I think the policy is
itself contradictory," Zhao was quoted as saying.

Nonetheless, Liu Jiangyong, an expert on Japan studies at
Tsinghua University, said Tokyo`s incentives are primarily
economic.

Liu said the long-term impact of this latest policy
change will be detrimental for China.

"From now on, Japan can export weapons to its neighbours
and allies such as India, the Philippines and Australia. At first, these may be for maritime security. But offensive weapons may eventually enter the picture, because that`s the
only way to fuel its indigenous defence industry," he said.

"When these countries engage in maritime disputes with China - that`s when the impact of this policy may come to affect us," Liu said.

Pan Zheng, a researcher at the National Defence University, called the Japanese move "a serious violation of the Peace Constitution".

The move`s impact, he said, will be extremely significant as "Japan broadens its own military influence through boosting military cooperation with other countries in the name of arms trade".

PTI