STRATEGIC ANALYSIS

Security of Sea Lines: Prospects for India-Japan Cooperation

January 2007
Volume: 
31
Issue: 
1
Focus on India-Japan Relations

Ensuring access to crude oil and natural gas forms a crucial component of India's security calculus. It also critically underlines the significance of sea transportation through which much of these vital resources are traded. With India virtually insular in terms of its land communications, its trade interests are increasingly focused on the maritime domain. Its vital interests in the security of sea routes at the same time are beginning to converge with those of Japan, the economic powerhouse of Asia, which being an island state is critically dependent on Pacific and Indian Ocean 'maritime lifelines' not only for its energy imports but also for much of its food and other vital resource supplies. As the Indian economy grows, the strategic congruence between the two states is likely to strengthen because of two factors; first, the growing Asian economic integration, and second, the geographic locations of India and Japan vis-a-vis the global distribution of potential sources of strategic commodities.