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India, Japan agree to further increase security and defence cooperation

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Tokyo, Sep 8 (PTI) India and Japan on Thursday agreed to further increase security and defence cooperation, including holding the first Air Force fighter exercises, as the two countries reaffirmed their commitment to a rules-based global order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, amidst China’s aggressive moves in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.

Participating in the second India-Japan 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting here, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India and Japan were committed to promoting a rules-based order, ensuring respect for international law and norms, and safeguarding the global commons.

In a joint statement after the meeting, the foreign ministers and defence ministers of the two countries emphasised the need for all countries to seek peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law without resorting to threat or use of force or any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo.

In the backdrop of Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine, Jaishankar noted that conflicts and climate events have further aggravated the global economic situation, creating deep anxieties in respect of energy and food security.

He also stressed on the necessity of creating resilient and reliable supply chains in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.

Besides Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh participated in the Dialogue with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada.

“During today’s discussions, we noted the progress in the military-to-military cooperation and exchanges between the two sides. We shared a common desire to further increase the scope and complexities of our bilateral exercises,” Singh told reporters here.

“We are happy to note that our Air Forces are working closely for early conduct of the inaugural Air Force fighter exercise,” he said.

During the meeting, the Japanese side conveyed its resolve to examine all options necessary for national defence, including “counter strike capabilities.” Japan also expressed its determination to fundamentally reinforce its defence capabilities within the next five years and secure substantial increase of defence budget needed to effect it.

Against the backdrop of China’s aggressive moves around Taiwan following US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei, Jaishankar said: “In the face of such challenges, the case for India and Japan to collaborate more closely on foreign policy and security questions has become even stronger.” India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the region.

China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.

The armies of India and China are still engaged in a prolonged standoff at eastern Ladakh.

The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.

So far, the two sides held 16 rounds of Corps Commander Level talks to resolve the prolonged standoff.

Jaishankar said strengthening the foreign policy coordination between India and Japan was essential to realise the true benefits of the substantial convergence in the interests and outlook of the two countries.

“They obviously concentrate on the Indo-Pacific but extend to many other regional, global and multilateral platforms as well,” Jaishankar said.

The ministerial meeting also focussed on working together in areas of cyber security, 5G deployment and critical and strategic minerals.

Jaishankar noted that India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership reflected interests and increasingly the footprint that extended well beyond the immediate region.

“We have a particular responsibility for ensuring a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific. That is done through a range of policies and mechanisms, including cooperation in the Quad framework, utilization of ASEAN platforms and participation in bodies like ReCAAP, Supply Chain Resilience Initiative, etc,” he said.

“Together, we are also poised to take forward the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative, Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, amongst others,” Jaishankar said.

The ministers of the two countries noted the progress in the defence cooperation and exchanges between the two sides and welcomed the participation of Japan for the first time in the multilateral exercise MILAN and the operationalization of the Agreement Concerning Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services.

The Ministers expressed their commitment to continuing bilateral and multilateral exercises including “Dharma Guardian”, JIMEX and “Malabar.” The two countries also committed to seek deeper cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HA/DR) and response to infectious diseases and pandemics.

The ministers acknowledged the potential of the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region and looked forward to actively deepening multilateral coordination with liaison officers of other countries in the forum for enhanced maritime cooperation.

The joint statement also acknowledged the vast potential for the two countries to expand bilateral cooperation in the areas of defense equipment and technology cooperation.

The Ministers further expressed satisfaction with the ongoing cooperation in the areas of Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV)/Robotics and the Sixth India-Japan Joint Working Group on Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation and concurred to further identify concrete areas for future cooperation in defence equipment and technology. PTI SKU ZH AKJ ZH ZH

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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