India-Japan Current Affairs

India, Japan ink MoU set up India-Japan Act East Forum

India and Japan have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up India Japan Act East Forum to enhance connectivity and promote developmental projects in Northeast India.

It was one of the 15 major agreements signed between both countries during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India for the 12th Indo-Japan annual summit.

Key Facts

The purpose of forum is to converge India’s Act East Policy with Japan’s Free and Open Asia-Pacific strategy in the backdrop of China’s One Belt One Road initiative. It will enhance connectivity and promote developmental projects in India’s Northeast region in an efficient and effective manner. It can complement India’s connectivity initiatives in Bangladesh, Myanmar and beyond, besides BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Motor Vehicle Agreements.

Background

Japan has historic connection with India’s northeast and is among few countries that India has allowed a presence in eight landlocked northeastern states which are India’s gateway to ASEAN members countries. Japan has cooperated with variety of development projects in Northeast, ranging from connectivity infrastructure such as roads and electricity, water supply and sewage and environmental conservation such as forest resource management and biodiversity.

Japanese Contribution to North East

India and Japan have signed document on Japanese loan and aid for highway development in Northeast which can complement India’s connectivity initiatives in Bangladesh, Myanmar and beyond. Japan is also extending loan of Rs.2,239 crore to India for ‘North East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project’ to improve National Highway 40 (NH-40) and construct a bypass on NH-54 in Northeast. These projects are expected to improve intra-regional and international connectivity through regional economic development.

Chinese Opposition

China has expressed dissatisfaction over proposed Japanese investments in India’s North-East states. China warned that third-party should not meddle in border disputes between India and China. It held that negotiations are still on to settle eastern section of China-India border, so it is oppoing involvement of any third party in region in whatsoever form.

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Government signs $76 Million loan deal with JICA to Upgrade Alang-Sosiya Shipyards

The Union Government signed $76 million loan deal with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for starting upgradation project related to environment management plan at Alang-Sosiya ship recycling shipyards in Gujarat.

The project will be executed by Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and is likely to be completed by 2022. The total cost of project is $111 million out of which $76 million will be provided by JICA as soft loan. Out of remaining amount, $25 million will be borne by Gujarat Government as taxes and fees and balance $10 million will be shared by Ministry of Shipping.

Benefits of the project

This project will help Alang-Sosia ship-recycling yards to comply with international safety & environmental regulations. This will attract more business at recycling facilities at Alang, thereby further consolidate India’s share in global ship-recycling industry.

It will also help in safeguarding marine and coastal environment. The use of advanced decontamination technology will rule out possibility of fire accidents in oil and chemical tankers, thereby ensuring workers safety.  The project is expected to increase in direct employment from 50,000 to 92,000 people and in-direct employment from 1.5 lakhs to 3 lakh people.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

The JICA is governmental agency that coordinates official development assistance (ODA) for government of Japan. Its mandate is assisting economic and social growth in developing countries, and promotion of international cooperation.

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