Army chief General Bikram Singh leaves for Japan to bolster military ties

NEW DELHI: With India and Japan further cranking up their military ties across the entire spectrum,¬†Army chief¬†General Bikram Singh left for Tokyo on a four-day visit on Monday evening. There is a definite upswing in the strategic-military partnership with Japan.General Singh’s visit¬†is part of the ongoing high-level exchanges between the two countries and highlights the importance of India’s ties with Japan. A bilateral defence policy dialogue has been established.¬†Army-to-army staff talks¬†have also been institionalised,” said an official.

General Singh¬†will be meeting with the Japanese defence minister, the chief of general staff and¬†the Army chief¬†to discuss how to further strengthen bilateral ties. He will also visit some defence establishments,” he added. The visit comes soon after India and Japan, both wary of the increasingly¬†assertive behaviour of China¬†and¬†the rapid modernisationof the People’s¬†Liberation Army, held their first-ever maritime dialogue on January 29.

Ranging from joint combat exercises and coordinated anti-piracy patrols to counter-terrorism and service-to-service exchanges, India and Japan are implementing a new action plan to advance security cooperation”. The nine-point action plan, which dwells upon strategic and defence cooperation as well as coordination in tackling terrorism, piracy and proliferation, is meant to reinforce the strategic focus in the global partnership” between India and Japan, say officials. India and Japan have similar views on several global and regional issues like extremism, terrorism and¬†WMD-proliferation.

The two are also keen to ensure the safety of sea lanes in the¬†Indian Ocean¬†Region and Asia-Pacific because both depend largely on maritime traffic for their energy and trade needs,” said an official. In addition to regular exercises between Indian and Japanese Coast Guards, our naval warships are also conducting coordinated anti-piracy patrolling in the¬†Gulf of Aden. We also have regular Navy-to-Navy staff talks,” he added.


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