Japan’s Shinzo Abe is likely to retain power: What does it mean for India?

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Projections suggest that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his party will retain power in Sunday’s snap election.

According to a recent survey, the coalition consisting of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the smaller ally Komeito is expected to get around 310 seats in the 465-seat Diet house.

Abe first became the prime minister in 2006, when his government lasted for a year and has now been in office since returning to power in 2012. Abe, who enjoys a personal rapport with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is likely to be crucial for Indo-Japanese relations, experts believe.

On September 25, Abe had called a snap election hoping to capitalize on the lack of credible opposition. He also wanted to take advantage of approval ratings, which had improved slightly after the Cabinet revamp.

What Abe means to India

The result of the snap elections will be important for India as the bilateral relations between the two countries have picked up steadily under Abe.

The 63-year-old had previously described the Indo-Japanese partnership as “Confluence of the Two Seas”.

India and Japan have come closer in terms of defence ties over the last few years. The two nations regularly conduct the Malabar naval exercise alongside the United States. Japan had also backed India during its Doklam standoff with China.

Both countries are planning to cooperate in other parts of the world with initiatives such as the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC). They have also not taken part in China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has also been funding key Indian infrastructure projects including metro systems.