The late Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe sought to engage India to build a coalition of maritime democracies. He foresaw that a) the PRC will further its effort to “mainlandise” Taiwan to ultimately annex the island nation; b) no country alone by itself could deter China’s quest for hegemony; c) India will continue to grow both demographically and economically; and d) no attempt to build a coalition of like minded countries over the Indo Pacific maritime domain will be substantive without fully engaging India. The new geo-political concept of “Indo-Pacific” thus was born under his resolved leadership, and the QUAD security arrangement also took shape as a result. The speaker will look back at what he sought to achieve for what purposes and argue that now, with Abe having passed, Japan’s diplomacy will likely go in a zigzag, while its foundation is more solid than in the pre-Abe era. Tokyo will soon start the budgeting process for the next fiscal year. By December it will revise some of the defence related policy doctrines. The speaker will also address those developments.
About the Speaker
Tomohiko Taniguchi is Professor at Keio University Graduate School of System Design and Management where he reads international political economy and the politico-economic development of Japan. He holds a doctorate in national security from Takushoku University, and LLB from the University of Tokyo. As the late prime minister ABE, Shinzō’s primary foreign policy speech writer, he penned most of Mr Abe’s important foreign policy speeches -- in Japanese and in English -- including the one he delivered to the Indian parliament in August 2007, under the title “Confluence of the Two Seas”. He began his career as a journalist with a Japanese-language business and finance weekly magazine Nikkei Business where he spent twenty years before joining Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Deputy Director General, Press and Public Affairs. He later joined the second Abe Administration first as a Cabinet Councillor, and second as Special Advisor to Prime Minister Abe’s Cabinet. He has spent sabbaticals at Princeton University as a Fulbright Visiting Fellow and at Shanghai Institutes for International Studies. One of the books he has authored is forthcoming in September, titled, ABE Sōri no Speech (Prime Minister Abe’s Speeches) to be published by Bungei Shunjū, Inc. He has given numerous live interviews to CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera English, and India’s WION.
About the Discussant
Jagannath Panda is the Head of the Stockholm Center for South Asian and Indo-Pacific Affairs (SCSA-IPA). He is also the Director for Europe-Asia Research Cooperation at the Yokosuka Council on Asia-Pacific Studies. Dr. Panda’s research focuses primarily on India’s relations with Indo-Pacific powers (China, Japan, Korea, USA); China-India Relations, EU-India Relations; and EU’s infrastructure, connectivity and maritime initiatives in Indo-Pacific. His recent work includes Quad Plus and Indo-Pacific (Routledge: 2021); Scaling India-Japan Cooperation in Indo-Pacific and Beyond 2025 (KW Publishing Ltd. 2019), and The Korean Peninsula and Indo-Pacific Power Politics: Status Security at Stake (Routledge, 2020), India-Japan-ASEAN Triangularity (Routledge: 2022), and the Future of Korean Peninsula: Korea 2032 and Beyond (Routledge: 2021).
About the Chair
Srabani Roy Choudhury is a Professor in the Japanese Studies Centre for East Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her association with Japan began with the Japan Foundation Fellowship 1996-1997. She has been on a visiting scholar programme to Keizai Koho Centre, Ministry of Economics and Industry, Japan, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance, Japan, REIB, Kobe University, GSID, Nagoya University. Her recent publications are centred on economic diplomacy between Japan and India with reference to Japanese business. In light of the power dynamics in the Indo-Pacific region, her interest looks at India- Japan relations in this perspective. She has to her credit two edited volumes Japan-SAARC Partnership: A Way Ahead (2014) and India-Japan Relations @ 70: Building Beyond Bilateral (2022).
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