NEW DELHI: With an eye firmly on China, India and Japan on Monday decided to “further consolidate and strengthen their strategic and global partnership” in the defence arena through measures ranging from regular joint combat exercises and military exchanges to cooperation in anti-piracy, maritime security and counter-terrorism.¬†
This came during the meeting between¬†defence minister A K Antony¬†and his Japanese counterpart¬†Itsunori Onodera, who is on a visit here till January 8. “The two ministers extensively and frankly exchanged ideas regarding regional and global security challenges, as well as bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges. They shared views on issues relating to the peace, stability and prosperity of the region,” said an official.
Onodera also briefed Antony on Japan’s National Security Strategy and the National Defence Program Guidelines, which were adopted in December 2013. Both India and Japan have long been wary of the increasingly¬†assertive behaviour of China, especially in the contentious South China Sea, as well as the rapid modernisation of the People’s Liberation Army.
India and Japan will hold their third “2 plus 2” Dialogue and fourthDefence Policy Dialogue¬†in New Delhi this year, along with the third bilateral exercise between the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force and Indian Navy to be held in Japanese waters. The Indian defence minister will also visit Japan later this year.
The two ministers agreed to promote exchanges on UN Peacekeeping Operations between¬†Japan Peacekeeping Training¬†and¬†Research Centre, Joint Staff College (JPC), Central Readiness Force of Japan Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF) and Centre for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK) of the Indian Army.
The two sides will also conduct “expert exchanges” in counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief between¬†the Indian Army¬†and Japan Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF). The possibility of conducting staff talks between¬†Japan Air Self-Defence Force¬†and Indian Air Force as well as professional exchanges of test-pilots, flight safety experts and others is also on the cards.