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Bilaterally, Japan and India need to strengthen their still-fledgling strategic cooperation by embracing two ideas, both of which demand a subtle shift in Japanese thinking and policy.

One is to build interoperability between their naval forces. These forces  along with other friendly navies  can undergird peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. As former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe put it in a recent speech in New Delhi, the aim should be that “sooner rather than later, Japan’s navy and the Indian navy are seamlessly interconnected.” Presently, Japan has naval interoperability only with U.S. forces.

Another idea is for the two countries to co-develop defense systems. India and Japan have missile-defense cooperation with Israel and the United States. There is no reason why they should not work together on missile defense and on other technologies for mutual security. Their defense cooperation must be comprehensive and not be limited to strategic dialogue, maritime cooperation and occasional naval exercises.

There is no ban on weapon exports in Japan’s U.S.-imposed constitution, only a long-standing Cabinet decision, which in any event has just been relaxed. That decision, in fact, related to weapons, not technologies.

Japan and India should remember that the most stable economic partnerships in the world, including the Atlantic community and the Japan-U.S. partnership, have been built on the bedrock of security collaboration. Economic ties that lack the support of strategic partnerships tend to be less stable and even volatile, as is apparent from Japan’s and India’s economic relationships with China.

Through close strategic collaboration, Japan and India must lead the effort to build freedom, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Brahma Chellaney is professor at the independent Center for Policy Research in New Delhi and the author of “Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India, and Japan” (HarperCollins, 2010).