TOKYO — Japan, the U.S. and India have agreed to work together on infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific region as the countries look to counter growing investment by China.
The three nations will open a working-level dialogue, hoping to begin projects soon, after representatives from their foreign ministries reached the agreement in New Delhi on Wednesday.
They will focus on South and Southeast Asian nations such as Nepal and Bangladesh as well as Myanmar. State-affiliated players Nippon Export and Investment Insurance, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp. will provide grants, loans and insurance to help local companies tackle various infrastructure projects. Japan will consider official development assistance as well.
The three countries are likely to oversee different types of infrastructure, such as India helping with port development, Japan leading on industrial parks and the U.S. working on power plants. They will share information on their current Indo-Pacific projects, with joint loans and joint ventures also up for consideration.
China is pouring large amounts of cash into the Indo-Pacific region under President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, but Beijing often invests in projects regardless of the other country’s ability to repay. Japan, the U.S. and India are calling for a more transparent and sustainable approach in line with international standards.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also wants to win over the region on his strategy to create a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”