Analysts in India and Tokyo say their countries have a similar set of interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
The two countries are also members of the U.S.-led Pacific Alliance.
But there are differences between the countries’ interests in areas ranging from trade to military technology, security, and security architecture.
India’s focus is on defence, and the country has been pursuing a military buildup to counter China’s rise, including the Indian Navy’s ambitious BrahMos surface-to-air missile system and the BrahMos-III intercontinental ballistic missile system.
Japan’s focus on defence is more in line with Beijing’s own security architecture, and it has built up its own military to counter Chinese threats in the region.
Japan’s main concern is with China’s economic rise and assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific.
Japan is also a key contributor to the Pacific alliance, as its main allies in the alliance are the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Analysts said India and China are two different players in the South China Sea, where their rival claims to vast swathes of the sea have fuelled tension.
They said there are certain strategic and economic advantages for India to develop its maritime power in the disputed waters, and that India should not be too focused on being the biggest player in the area.
“India is interested in maritime and other strategic power projection, but we think the Indo Pacific region is the key for India,” said Murali Shrivastava, senior analyst at the India Institute of International Studies.
“India wants to develop the South East Asian maritime security and is keen to build maritime power, but there are a lot of challenges.
India also wants to be a bridge to Asia and build a global network, but it is not an easy task,” he said.”
In the Indo Sea, there are very large differences, as we are not dealing with a large maritime power like China,” he added.
The Indo-Asian security environment is complex, with a number of countries involved, including China and India, in the conflict, said Shrivasta.
China and Japan have long argued over territory in the East China Sea.
At the height of the standoff in 1962, China launched its Sea-Air-Space War with Japan, claiming the vast majority of the South and East China Seas.
Despite China’s efforts to control the disputed waterway, a number that has also been claimed by Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and Vietnam, the region is now claimed by all three countries, with Japan in the top tier.
In a recent visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Vietnam, Abe said the region had to “be part of the peace plan” of the region and that the two countries would work together to address the maritime disputes in the same way.
“I want to emphasise that the South-East China Sea is part of Asia’s security, maritime security, security architecture and security environment,” he told reporters in Beijing.
The tensions have heightened in recent years, with Beijing sending a naval vessel to waters claimed by the Philippines to patrol its exclusive economic zone in the contested waters.
Since then, China has intensified its efforts to assert control of the contested sea, with its Navy conducting air patrols and naval patrols on Chinese vessels.
This week, China’s defence minister, Zhang Gaoli, told a meeting of the People’s Liberation Army that China was “seeking to create a military alliance with India in the Indian Ocean, as part of our military plan to expand our sea power and expand its military capabilities in the strategic South China sea”.
While India is a key supplier of defence equipment to the United Nations, it is also looking to diversify its military in the wake of its own security concerns, analysts said.
Both India and the United Kingdom have expressed concern about Chinese claims in the Sea of Japan, which has been a contentious issue in recent times.
Earlier this year, India called on the United Nation to consider suspending all of its membership agreements in the sea, which is a measure that China has been taking since 2012.
While Japan has been keen to diversifying its military and security, its focus is less on defence and more on the region, according to Shrivasu.
He said India’s maritime strategy has been geared towards its regional security interests and that is where its focus should be, not on building up military power in a particular region.
Shrivasta said India has been building up its military for some time now, and was a key player in military cooperation with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.