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India, Japan agree to enhance defence ties

Two nations likely to conduct more bilateral exercises, besides exchanging technology, equipment

IANS  |  Tokyo 

Itsunori Onodera, Arun Jaitley
Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera, left, escorts Indian counterpart Arun Jaitley, right, to inspect an honour guard at Defense Ministry in Tokyo. Photo: PTI

Deepening cooperation in and security, and have agreed to enhance exchanges between their forces which is likely to translate into more bilateral exercises, as well as more exchanges in the field of technology and equipment as looks towards increasing its domestic production.

This comes after a bilateral dialogue between the Ministers of and on September 5-6, that took place as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in China for the BRICS summit from September 3-5.

Minister Arun Jaitley and his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera, as part of the annual India-Ministerial Dialogue held in Tokyo, exchanged views on the situation in the Indo-Pacific region.

The talks are likely to have touched on the over 70-day stand-off between and China along the border in Doklam, even though the statement did not name China anywhere.

However, it did carry a joint condemnation of North Korea's September 3 nuclear test.

Both sides also expressed satisfaction on the India-US-Malabar 2017, that took place in the Bay of Bengal in July and led to unease in China.

Jaitley went to attend the bilateral dialogue on Sunday night, hours after Nirmala Sitharaman was named the new Minister, stating that logistics arrangement at the last moment was difficult. Sitharaman will take charge of the ministry formally on Thursday after Jaitley's return.

and expressed satisfaction at the continued deepening and diversification of bilateral cooperation since the signing of the bilateral Memorandum on Co-operation and Exchanges in September 2014 and the two Framework agreements signed in December 2015.

It also observed that through institutionalised dialogues and visits, cooperation between the two countries has been strengthened.

In 2018, the Japanese Minister will visit The Armies of both nations will explore holding a joint exercise on anti-terrorism next year for the first time. also invited to participate in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) exercise held by Ground Self Force as an observer.

Onodera expressed his intention to have state-of-the-art Japanese assets including P-1 to participate in the next edition of the Malabar exercise in 2018 and Jaitley welcomed his proposal.

"The Ministers noted the importance of bilateral training interactions between Indian Navy and Japanese Maritime Self Force (JMSDF). The two sides will consider inclusion of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) training to expand cooperation," it said.

In addition, the ministers agreed to pursue exchanges and training by ASW aviation units such as Lockheed P-3 Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft. The Japanese side proposed to invite Indian Navy personnel to mine-countermeasures training held by JMSDF.

As looks forward to increasing manufacturing within the country, the two sides discussed enhancing interaction between governments and industries to encourage equipment collaboration.

Jaitley briefed his Japanese counterpart about recent policy reforms in the manufacturing sectors in and said it offers opportunities for foreign industries to play an active role.

First Published: Wed, September 06 2017. 21:17 IST