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New Japan-India alliance will transform Asia

It hasn't made much headline news, but the fact that India is now finally set to buy 15 US-2 seaplanes from Japan marks a significant breakthrough in Japan-India relations. It also is a harbinger of how growing India-Japan ties will transform Asia in the 21st century, and how other countries -- including China and the United States -- are going to have to catch up with this new geopolitical reality.     

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi shake hands in Tokyo on Sept. 1, 2014.

     The prospective seaplane sale has been almost four years in the making, and many of the details -- for example, how much Japan and ShinMaywa Industries, builder of the US-2, will allow Indian companies to join in the aircraft's coproduction -- are currently being negotiated. Still, it will represent Japan's first overseas sales of defense items since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe eased Japan's defense export ban last year. Similar to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Japan last autumn, it also sends a loud and clear message that a new strategic alliance is coming between Asia's two most important democracies.

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