You may recall that last year I wrote about what I called the "Quadruple Entente," an emerging "informal understanding" among the Asian powers that "China is the problem." I certainly was not the only one noticing this phenomenon, as others wrote about what they were calling "The Quad," an association of Asian powers that by their reckoning amounted to the USA, Japan, India, and Australia. True enough, that has been happening, but my "Quadruple Entente" idea is a bit different, for I'm including Russia as the fourth major power, notwithstanding its quasi-formal alliance with China. My reasons for including Russia are simple geopolitics and economics, plus a bit of "tea leaf reading" from events in recent years. Firstly, the round of negotiations initiated between Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which tabled outstanding "sore" issues like the Kurile islands to ink some trade deals. From a geopolitical standpoint, both Russia and Japan had a lot to gain. Russia has energy close to hand to Japan via trade routes that do not run through the South China Sea. Japan has the technological and economic/financial infrastructure that Russia needs to counter-balance too much dependency on China.
There were other tip-offs that Russia was and is not as securely in the Chinese camp as the propatainment media likes to suggest. Japan, for example, was invited by Russia to run trial freight over the Trans-Siberian railway. At the time, my thought was (and still is) that Japan was being invited to examine track bed conditions of the Trans-Siberian, with a view to determine what it would take to convert to high-speed rail. Other signals included the sudden cancellation of the Russian S400 missile defense system to China in the wake of the Chinese-Indian border clash, and a similar sale to India that Russia allowed to go through. In short, Russia is the "hidden" fourth player in the Quadruple entente, for its interests align in a peculiar way with Japan, making Japan the lynchpin in the emerging geopolitical bloc.
With that as a little background, M.D. spotted and shared this article:
As the article notes, India's deals with Japan to gain high speed rail and technology from Japan date back to 2017, and initiatives undertaken by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Mohdi and then-Japanese premier Shinzo Abe. The real question here is how this fits with the emergence of "the Quad," either in its popular version, or my "Quadruple Entente" version, with Russia in the mix. Here of course, I'm indulging in my high octane speculation once again, but to what I hope is a purpose. By bringing high speed rail to India, Japan is, in effect, making a very public statement that it is willing to export the technology that transformed post-war Japan, and let it be noted carefully that this is a first, both for Asia, and Japan. It's a message, and a very powerful one, that Japan is sending: China has direct competition on the world stage for high speed rail with Japan,and there's a bomus: Japan isn't Communist. The only other country with a similar technology is France with its TGV, and so far, France has kept it to itself. So the question is, who has a vested interest in developing high speed rail in the region?
Answer: Russia. Mr. Putin some years ago indicated one of his government's plans is to build out Siberian infrastructure, including trunk lines along the Trans-Siberian to support the expansion of Russian agriculture and industry in the region. Russia has also announced plans for an Arctic version of the Trans-Siberian, a monumental and enormous engineering undertaking. The goal is to build out high speed rail, not just for passengers, but for freight, and that will require a heavy investment in the technology. It's one thing to move people around at 200+ miles per hour by train, and quite another to move hundreds of tons of freight. And Japan has the technology and capital to do it.
So a little high octane speculation and prediction: watch for Russia and Japan to launch a joint venture to do just that, develop high speed freight rail... or maybe France and Russia, or maybe all three...
... China not invited.
See you on the flip side...