Historically, India and Japan have deep rooted links through the oriental culture and religion,
which had their origin in India. However, the two countries have grown through different paths of development for most part of last few centuries.
In 1939, the Second World War engulfed the whole world. At the end of WWII, Japan was essentially a ruined nation but the people had strong determination and will to stand again.
Around the same time, India got freedom from the British rulers, and the process of development started under the enlightened vision of national leaders.
Both Japan and India adopted the look West policy for faster development. While Japan became a close ally of USA and adopted capital oriented economy,
India chose a socialist approach with an emphasis on self-reliance. Although it resulted in slower pace of development,
it helped us establish a broad base in science and technology.
On the other hand, Japan progressed on the path of market economy with full support from USA,
and soon became an economic super power.
During the Cold War Era, the Indo-Japan Cooperation was limited to export of raw materials and minerals from India and non-strategic equipments and machinery from Japan.
However, even in this period, there were examples of very good S&T collaboration between Japanese and Indian scientists,
primarily because of the personal contacts and individual initiatives.
The end of cold war, disintegration of USSR and subsequent developments removed Japanese inhibitions that used to limit their cooperation with India in the field of S&T.
The two countries realized and emphasized upon the need for cooperation among Asian Nations for their rapid development.
Owing to its strong economy, Japan was able to play an important role by inviting our S&T personnel and making investments in technological sectors to utilize Asian Markets for mutual benefits.
A formal S&T Agreement between the two countries was signed in November 1985. It is being implemented through India-Japan Joint Committee (IJJC) on Cooperation in S&T which looks into major policy issues,
reviews the progress and proposes measures for enhancing the cooperation.
In 1995, the Diet (Parliament) of Japan passed S&T Basic Law and the prevalent emphasis started shifting from technology-oriented development towards basic scientific research.
Japan has decided to come out of the economic recession through the development of new industries, resulting from the advanced research and development through the use of new science and technology.
However, India applied research is being offered more encouragement over the conventional academic research. It is considered for fast economic growth and the societal adoption of technology.
The nuclear tests conducted by India in May 1998 and the subsequent missile tests had resulted in severe limitation of fresh scientific cooperation.
Japan took longer than other countries to come out of this reduced cooperation. However, at the end of year 2000, India-Japan Science Council identified a new area of cooperation and raised the total number of such areas to six.
It got quickly implemented and a well-attended bilateral seminar took place in Tokyo. Around the same time, grant of visa to scientists from BARC intending to come to Japan got restricted.
Through the new embargo, essentially to check the Weapons of Mass Destruction, Japan restricted trade with several companies and supply of technical machines and materials to some research institutions.
This move, in addition to affecting the approved as well as ongoing program, disappointed the Japanese academicians and business alike.
This has started changing now. Recent years have witnessed Japan, both at the Government as well as at the business and academic levels, displaying an increasing interest in India.
A number of initiatives have been taken by the two governments to improve bilateral relations in almost every field. With a view to provide more focus and purpose to S&T cooperation between the two countries,
a Science and Technology Initiative to support pure science research in frontier areas of S&T has been proposed.
In April 2005, PM Koizumi's visit to Delhi resulted in the enunciation of an eight point action plan to impart a strategic orientation to India-Japan Global Partnership envisioned first by ex PMs Mori and Vajpayee in 2000.
In the action plan, it was agreed that the new Science and Technology Initiative would explore the possibility of substantial cooperation in the emerging areas of modern biology,
biotechnology, health and care, agriculture, hydrocarbon fuels, nano-science and nano-technology, environment, information and communication technology, robotics, alternative sources of energy etc.
This commitment was further cemented in the visit of Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India to Japan from 14-16 December,
2006, when the two Prime Ministers issued a joint statement, upgrading the relationship to a Japan India Strategic and Global Partnership.
PM Abe's recent visit to India from August 21-23, 2007 resulted in a Joint Statement that set out a roadmap for India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership.
India has a large pool of scientific manpower and excellent scientists who can collaborate with their Japanese counterparts for the advancement of science whereas the Japanese technology can accelerate the technological development of India.
This could lead to possibilities of complementing each others S&T efforts. It was realized that cooperation in
S&T would be a pre-requisite for long-term successful industrial and economic cooperation between India and Japan.
Regular avenues through agreements and MoUs had already been giving a formal shape to the ongoing collaboration between Japanese and Indian scientists. New modes of exchange and areas of cooperation have started getting identified.
Japan’s priority strategies for Science & Technology
(i) Promotion of basic research
In the pursuit of universal knowledge from a long term perspective, aiming to accumulate intellectual achievements to generate new knowledge constantly
(ii) Prioritization of R & D in response to issues important to the state and society.
For ensuring sustained economic development through vitalization of economy and industry, and ensuring safe and secure lives for its people.
Priority strategic areas
- i) Life Science
- (ii) Information & Communication
- (iii) Environment
- (iv) Nanotechnology and materials
- (v) Energy
- (vi) Manufacturing sciences/technologies
- (vii) Infrastructure
- (viii) Frontier science