Japan to counter China’s growing military power, sets record $52 billion military budget with stealth jets, long-range missiles

Summary: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government approved a ninth consecutive rise in military spending on Monday, funding the development of an advanced stealth fighter and longer-range anti-ship missile to counter China’s growing military power.

Japan is also a close ally of India and both are members of the QUAD, The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. Indian External Affairs Minister has termed Japan as among the most trusted partners of India. The relationship between the two countries are growing in all spheres, especially industry, business and technology.

The Ministry of Defense will get a record 5.34 trillion yen ($51.7 billion) for the year starting in April, up 1.1% from this year. With Suga’s large majority in parliament, enactment of the budget is all but certain.

Suga is continuing the controversial military expansion pursued by his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, to give Japan’s forces new planes, missiles and aircraft carriers with greater range and potency against potential foes including neighbouring China.

“To correspond to the increasingly severe security environment, we would like to firmly strengthen our defence power while getting people to understand through our explanations at parliament sessions,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a news conference after the budget approval.

Japan is buying longer-range missiles and considering arming and training its military to strike distant land targets in China, North Korea and other parts of Asia.

A planned jet fighter, the first in three decades, is expected to cost around $40 billion and be ready in the 2030s. That project, which will be led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd with help from Lockheed Martin Corp, gets $706 million in the new budget. Japan will also spend $323 million to begin development of a long-range anti-ship missile to defend its southwestern Okinawan island chain.

Japan among the most trusted partners of India: Indian External Affairs Minister

In September 2020, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had termed Japan as one of the most trusted Partners of India. Emphasising on the strong India-Japan economic relations, he said that the strategic autonomy is a new horizon which is opening up as an area of cooperation between the two countries. Japan is among the trusted partners for India and a great source of inspiration. As we both look at the world with radically different world order, we are the two countries whose shared values make us the natural partners.

Japan is the only country which India has an annual summit as well as 2 plus 2 dialogue “The fact, tells how much more in sync we have become in terms of how we look at the world and define our interests,” said the minister.

Addressing an event on India-Japan ties on Friday, Jaishankar said that there has been a very visible increase in economic cooperation between the two countries with an increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows from Japan.

“FDI inflows from Japan have gone up. The number of Japanese companies in India has gone up. ODA (Official development assistance) disbursements and projects which Japan is doing, that has scaled up,”

Addressing the event Japan’s Charge De Affairs in Delhi, Toshihide Ando stressed on exploring new areas of partnership between the two countries. He said that the collaboration between Japan and India is multi-faceted including a growing service sector, “Efforts should be on touching upon new frontiers including IT, 5G AI and others”. The Japanese diplomat also said that in an increasingly uncertain world Japan-India bring about an assurance over peace, stability, and prosperity by working with other like-minded countries.

Referring to the Covid pandemic which has expanded the sense of National Security globally EAM said “We started thinking of Health security as an aspect of National Security, but increasingly, I think people will look for Economic Security and to some degree supply chain security as integral elements.” Highlighting the global supply chain issue he said that strategic autonomy today has a meaning in terms of a resilient and trusted supply chains and this is a new version that is opening up as an area of cooperation between India and Japan.

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