Japan Pledges $75 Billion Indo-Pacific Investment to Counter China

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida on Monday announced an investment plan worth $75 billion to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific to help nations across the region develop their economies. Kishida’s announcement in New Delhi, following his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Modi, comes amid Japan’s bid to forge stronger ties with South and Southeast Asian nations to counter China’s influence. Kishida said there were four “pillars” to Japan’s new Indo-Pacific plan: maintaining peace, dealing with new global issues in cooperation with Indo-Pacific countries, achieving global connectivity through various platforms, and ensuring the safety of the open seas and skies.

Kishida also said Japan wanted Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to end as soon as possible and called on the “Global South”, a broad term referring to countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin America, to “show solidarity” after his talks with Modi.

Japan pledged $75 billion to the region by 2030 through private investments and yen loans and by increasing aid via official governmental assistance and grants.

“We plan to expand the cooperation of the free and open Indo-Pacific framework,” Kishida said.

He also underlined the increasing connectivity among countries and promoting freedom of navigation, with an eye on increasing maritime defense and security among like-minded countries.

China’s influence in the region has grown substantially in recent year, as Beijing has ramped up its military presence in the Indo-Pacific and rapidly modernized its navy while promoting the Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure program.

“The kind of connectivity where you only rely on one country breeds political vulnerability,” Kishida said.

“We aim to increase the number of options each country has so that they can overcome these vulnerabilities and achieve further economic growth through connectivity,” he added.

“We will conduct joint maritime exercises with India and the United States, as well as goodwill exercises with ASEAN and the Pacific Islands,” Kishida said.

Japan, India, Australia and the United States are members of the so-called Quad grouping, created to balance China’s growing dominance. The four will participate in an annual naval exercise to be held in Australia this year.

India and Japan have also improved their ties in defense and strategic affairs in the face of a dominant China.

“India is an essential partner when it comes to realizing our free and open Indo-Pacific vision,” Kishida stated.

Modi said strengthening the India-Japan “partnership is not only important for both our countries, it also promotes peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region”.

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