For the past decade, China and Japan have been competing against each other over aid market with its implicit intention to pursue their economic interests, which turned into a rivalry between two diplomatic concepts: Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) versus Japanese Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) Strategy. The severe competition over high-speed rail (HSR) by two countries, joined by French and German competitors, has been intensified for the benefit of China, taking all of its catchup benefits with its dubious sense of rule of law. This article asks if the two initiatives can coexist with the entry of India into the game and form an equilibrium of ‘grand coalition’, benefiting all its players as ‘win-win-win’ game, which turns out to be feasible and unstable. Nevertheless, Japan still seems to have a good reason to keep India as a strategic partner of FOIP as well as a ‘gateway’ for Central and Western Asia with fragile states such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, and official development assistance (ODA) could play a significant catalyst role as ‘human security’ promoted by Professor Amartya Sen and ex-UNHCR Ms. Sadako Ogata. The COVID-19 pandemic together with the exit of the isolationist US administration may provide the world with glimmering sense of hope for the year 2021 and beyond, if and only if one becomes more aware of the complementarities of comparative advantage of China, India and Japan to pursue common interests.
ASJC Scopus subject areas