Japan, China And India Form An Uneasy Asian Triangle

India, China And Japan: The Uncomfortable Asian Triangle
With relations frayed after its troops crossed the Himalayan border with India, China is finding its efforts to strengthen ties with India a more difficult task. Ironically, the 20-standoff over the incursion of Chinese troops has actually strengthened relations between India and Japan, a nation which has had its own territorial disputes with China.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently traveled to Japan to meet with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe and to sign major infrastructure and defense-technology deals.

“It is quite clear that all this is happening with China as the backdrop, because both Japan and India look upon China as a threat. The Japanese prime minister wants to redefine the Indian Ocean and the Pacific region as a community of maritime democracies.” Lalit Mansingh, a former Indian diplomat and strategic affairs analyst, told The Washington Post.

“Longer-term implications of the border crisis remain unclear, but new robustness in India’s dealings with China was evident during Li’s visit. India was vocal in demanding reciprocity and made it clear that peace on the border remains the foundation of the relationship – and that other aspects of relations will suffer if incidents like the Chinese incursion into Despang Valley continue,” says Harsh Plant of Yale Global Online.

The tensions between India and China and, in turn, China and Japan is creating a uniquely uncomfortable Asian triangle, asserts Plant, who believes that “new major power configurations are likely to emerge” between “the three most formidable regional players and how they manage their bilateral relations will have great bearing on the configuration of the Asian power balance.”

“China’s aggressive behavior is bringing India and Japan much closer that could have been envisioned just a few years back. Though Beijing is likely to view this as an attempt at containment, Delhi and Tokyo will argue that it’s merely a response to China’s provocations. Whatever happens, global politics will be shaped, to a considerable degree, by the push and pull of Asian geopolitics,” he adds.

While Japan and China are not on the best of terms, Japan will continue to pursue engagement, which is part of its larger foreign policy strategy. As China rises to challenge the United States in terms of global power, Japan has been seeking to balance itself between the two nations.

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