Adhering to self-sustaining foreign policy, Modi immune to Kishida pressure over Ukraine crisis
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida meets his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during a press statement after their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on March 19, 2022. Photo: AFP
If a country wants to gain strong international influence and build a positive global image, it must achieve autonomy in foreign policy. It should start from its own national interests and decide its own foreign policy based on the good and bad sides of the issue, rather than blindly following and serving one country against another.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pushed India for a clear response to the Ukraine crisis and a tougher line on Russia on Saturday during his meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, according to media reports. But their joint statement later the same day did not mention Russia. Regarding the Ukraine crisis, the statement only says that lines like Kishida and Modi “reiterated their call for an immediate cessation of violence and noted that there was no choice but the path of dialogue and diplomacy for the resolution of the conflict”.
“This position has not changed since India’s previous statement. India maintains its position and policy on the Ukraine crisis. This will not change because of Kishida’s leadership and continued cooperation Japan’s economic relationship with India,” Qian Feng, director of the research department of the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times.
Japan’s insistence, to some extent, is to help the United States push India. New Delhi’s neutral stance on the Ukraine crisis has recently caused constant concern in Europe and the United States. Even Washington’s pressure on New Delhi is futile, let alone that of Tokyo. Japan’s push is of little importance. “This is because India has a clear picture of the current international environment. India knows that the pressure from the United States and Japan will be limited, as they must enlist in India to contain and suppress the China,” said Lan Jianxue, head of the foreign affairs department. Asia-Pacific Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.
One of the main triggers for the different attitudes of Japan and India towards the Ukraine crisis is their different foreign policy – Japan is following the lead of the United States, while India is pursuing a foreign policy independent. Since World War II, the US-Japan alliance can be seen as something of a cornerstone of Japanese foreign policy, and in many cases Japanese diplomacy should follow that of the United States. This is the limit of Tokyo’s foreign policy.
“In modern international relations, the relationship between allies is not equal, and there must be one side that dominates the alliance,” Yang Xiyu, a senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times. . “In the Japanese political lexicon, there is not even the word ‘independence'”.
India is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement, which in essence emphasizes self-reliance. India tends to adjust its foreign policy according to different agendas, and is therefore not totally inclined towards one country. This helps New Delhi to maintain its position on the international stage and serves its ambition to become a great power. Moreover, India has enjoyed friendly relations with Russia for decades. Russia is India’s biggest arms supplier, according to media reports, and India has a big appetite for Russian energy. Accordingly, India’s position on the Ukrainian crisis is understandable.
New Delhi’s practices of adhering to self-reliance and avoiding clinging to Washington’s chariot will prevent it from losing a traditional friend like Russia, help it maintain its national interest and gain international influence.
But Japan’s moves to follow the United States in condemning and imposing sanctions on Russia will worsen Japan’s geopolitical environment. As a result, Tokyo’s ties with Moscow will be affected and the territorial dispute between the two sides will be clouded. It can be concluded that tying its diplomacy closely to the hegemonic strategy of the United States will make it more difficult for Japan to defend its national interests.