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      China Is More Concerned Than It Reveals on Japan-India Ties

      Japan and India boosted naval ties in a move seen as directed against China. China officially downplayed this but is really concerned.
      By Amiel Ungar
      First Publish: 12/30/2011, 3:40 PM

      The Japan India summit has concluded with both sides boosting security cooperation and Japan helping India out economically. This is what emerged from a joint statement by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.

      The two leaders announced said that the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy will conduct joint exercises next year to beef up maritime security in the Indian Ocean (an extension of Japan's military activity).

      Tokyo will invest $4.5 billion over the next five years to promote the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project, an industrial zone that will provide employment in six Indian states.

      Noda and Singh expressed hope that Japanese and Indian companies will form joint ventures to produce and trade rare earth metals, a move with economic repercussions for China that had hoped to corner the market..

      According to the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan hoped to put pressure on China, the observers said, which has intensified its activities in the high seas recently. The agreement is a continuation of growing military ties that began in 2008 under prime minister Taro Aso and have matured since then.

      Both countries are concerned with China's naval expansion. Japan has had territorial disputes with China over issues in the East China Sea, primarily over the Senkaku Islands.

      India, looks suspiciously at China's growing presence in South Asian waters near India.

      The two  leaders emphasized the mutually shared values, an implication that they were both kindred democracies while China was not.

      China looked on as the leaders met and one could see a disconnect between official reaction and unofficial comment in a review published in the China Daily.

      The official reaction regarded the summit benevolently. China according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei  welcomed mutual visits between India and Japan and sought to "actively develop" relations with both countries.

      "Both China and Japan think peaceful coexistence, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development are in the interests of the people of the two countries, and the peace,stability and development of the region," Hong said.

      However the paper cited Chinese experts on Japan who took a more jaundiced view.

      Lu Yaodong, director of the department of Japanese diplomacy at the Institute of Japanese Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Japan has claimed its efforts in building alliances are to "tackle the uncertainty of the rise of regional power, which actually means China".

      Zhou Yongsheng, a professor of Japanese studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said that since Noda assumed office, Japan's policies on counterbalancing China have become more apparent, and his visit to India to make their ties closer is one of these measures.

      Noda's cabinet has "formed a strategy of containing China by shaping an arc from Northeast Asia to Southeast Asia, with the US as a backup force."