India and Japan in QUAD Shaping the Indo-Pacific Security Architecture

by Dr. Subhan T. Jadhav - 16 April, 2024, 12:00 431 Views 0 Comment


Quad is a strategic and security group in the Indo-Pacific region.

Quad brings together four countries – India, Australia, Japan, and the United States committed to working as a force for global good and to support an open, free, and inclusive Indo-Pacific that is prosperous and resilient. Quad has adopted a positive and practical agenda focusing on contemporary issues and challenges such as health security, climate change, critical and emerging technologies, infrastructure and debt sustainability, cyber security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and strengthening the maritime domain awareness of regional countries. significance of the geostrategic Indo-Pacific region and India and Japan are key players in this region as per the security and economic scenario. Both countries initiated or major focus on sea routes connecting the Middle East, Africa, and East Asia with Europe and America.

Quad’s Security and Strategic Vision

Quad Maritime Security Working group focuses on practical & positive outcomes, and combat illicit maritime activities, including preventing the international and cross-border movement of terrorists and countering terror finance networks and safe havens. The fifth Quad Leaders’ summit was held in Japan on 20 May 2023. In addition to the joint Statement, the “Quad Leaders’ Vision Statement – Enduring Partners for the Indo-Pacific” also released, outlines the quad leaders’ vision for a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific, and upholding the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and peaceful resolution of disputes. The quad’s work is taken forward through six-leader level working groups following the Climate, Critical and emerging technologies, Cyber, Health Security Partnership, Infrastructure, and Space.

Shaping the Indo-Pacific Security Architecture

Driven by challenges posed by China’s revisionist policies, particularly its growing influence in the South China Sea and the perceived threats to Japan’s investments and infrastructure projects in ASEAN nations through the Belt and Road Infrastructure initiative, Japan under former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reinforced the QUAD (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) by resuming talks in 2017 to uphold a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and came up with the concept of a ‘free and open’ Indo-Pacific FOIP (Girisanker S.B. 2024) also, India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) concept is a collaborative approach among stakeholders to address shared challenges. It extends the “Security and Growth for All in the Region” (SAGAR) initiative initiated in 2015 by the Indian government.

Indian primer Narendra Modi proposed IPOI at the 14th East Asian Summit on November 4, 2019. IPOI aims to strengthen maritime boundaries and partnerships, focusing on free trade and sustainable resource usage. It encompasses seven thematic areas: resource development, resilient infrastructure, security, and marine environment. Both Japan’s ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ FOIP and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) share common concerns regarding China’s ongoing military and political interventions in the Indo-Pacific region. Consequently, both nations prioritise safeguarding maritime security and enhancing relationships with countries in the Indo-Pacific, particularly with ASEAN member states (MEA, India 2022). In December 2015, Prime Minister Abe paid an official visit to India and had a summit meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two Prime Ministers resolved to transform the Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership into a deep, broad-based and action-oriented partnership, which reflects a broad convergence of their long-term political, economic and strategic goals. They announced “Japan and India Vision 2025 Special Strategic and Global Partnership Working Together for Peace and Prosperity of the Indo-Pacific Region and the World”, a joint statement that would serve as a guidepost for the “new era in Japan-India relations”. On September 9th 2020, the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India Concerning the Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Indian Armed Forces (so-called “Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement” or ACSA) was signed. ACSA came into force on July 11th, 2021(MFA of Japan, 2024).

The ongoing strategic dialogue between India and Japan seeks to create new security in the Indo-Pacific region as India’s investment in the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and Japan’s investment in the Southeast Asian nation and perceived threats to infrastructure projects have brought the two nations. According to Jaishankar, while the Indo-Pacific has a strong maritime connotation, there are continental developments which also have a direct bearing on its future. He refers here, amongst others to the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway that has the potential of creating a completely new axis of economic activity in Asia. The IMTT project has had its fair share of challenges but we are determined to bring it to an early conclusion. Already, countries to the East of Myanmar and countries to the East of Thailand have expressed interest in getting connected to it. Such a lateral connectivity can radically expand the interface between South-East Asia and South Asia, to the mutual benefit of both (MEA, GOI, 2022). So where does the India-Japan relationship where do they focus on the vision and security of the Indo-Pacific region’s perspective? It is important for the future investment and security aspect of the Indo-Pacific. As per the economic and military, this focus on enhancing its conventional military capacities dovetails with the broader ambition of ‘normalizing’ Japan’s military posture in East Asia. India too has invested extensively in its military, doubling its total military expenditures between 2004 and 2023 (SIPRI, 2022). In 2004 India’s defence expenditure was USD37648.63 million (EFSAS Study Paper, 2022) & last year military spending of $81.4 billion was the fourth highest in the world.

Continued increases by major spenders in the Indo-Pacific region

The United States remained the world’s largest military spender up 0.7 percent to $877bn in 2022 which was 39 percent of total global military spending. The increase was largely driven by “the unprecedented level of financial military aid it provided to Ukraine,” SIPRI’s Nan Tian said. (Aljazeera, 2023) China remained the world’s second-largest military spender, allocating an estimated $292bn in 2022. This was 4.2 percent more than in 2021 and represents the 28th consecutive annual increase. India’s military spending of $81.4 billion ranked fourth highest in the world. This was up by 6.0 per cent more than in 2021. (SIPRI, 2023) In a push to strengthen the indigenous arms industry, 64 per cent of capital outlays in the military budget of 2021 were earmarked for acquisitions of domestically produced arms. (SIPRI, 2022) Meanwhile, Japan spent $46bn on the military in 2022, a rise of 5.9 percent from the previous year.

SIPRI said it was the highest level of Japanese military spending since 1960. A new national security strategy published in 2022 sets out ambitious plans to increase Japan’s military capability over the coming decade in response to perceived growing threats from China, North Korea and Russia. Japan is undergoing a profound shift in its military policy,’ said Xiao Liang, Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. ‘The post-war restraints Japan imposed on its military spending and military capabilities seem to be loosening.’ (SIPRI, 2023) ‘China’s growing assertiveness in and around the South and the East China seas have become a major driver of military spending in countries such as Australia and Japan,’ said SIPRI Senior Researcher Dr Nan Tian. ‘An example is the AUKUS trilateral security agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States that foresees the supply of eight nuclear-powered submarines to Australia at an estimated cost of up to $128 billion.’ (SIPRI, 2022)


The development of closer bilateral ties between India and Japan is a development that is driven by the shifting geostrategic dynamics of the 21st century. After the Cold War new regionalism policy developed and many emerging nations’ economic, political, and Strategic areas expanded their interest and organized introduced as per the national interest. The presence of powerful states to develop a new present scenario of the Indo-Pacific region is the most significant development for India and Japan. While the Indian naval interest is focused on ensuring India’s maritime posture in the Indian Ocean, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force is exclusively focused on ensuring Japan’s position in the East China Sea. It is important for future investment, security presence, and military expenditure in the Indo-Pacific.

Dr. Subhan T. Jadhav
Author is Assistant Professor, Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *