To further boost their defence ties amid China’s belligerence, India and Japan will conduct their first-ever air force fighter exercise, they announced after the second 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial meeting in Tokyo on Thursday.
New Delhi and Tokyo have also decided to initiate Joint Service Staff talks between Japan Joint Staff and Integrated Defence Staff of India, according to a joint statement.
External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting with their Japanese counterparts Hayashi Yoshimasa and Hamada Yasukazu in the 2+2 format.
Speaking at the meeting, External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar stated that the two countries are closely working on matters like cyber security, 5G deployment and critical and strategic minerals.
Both sides raised regional and global issues of mutual interests and concerns including the Ukraine crisis and the Indo-Pacific region.
“A stronger India-Japan partnership is good for each other, for Indo-Pacific and the global order,” Dr Jaishankar after the meeting.
As per the statement, the leaders said that they were committed to “a common strategic goal of achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific, that is inclusive and resilient, based on the rule of law and free from coercion”.
Both sides took a stock of progress in the military to military cooperation and exchanges between India and Japan.
“We shared a common desire to further increase the scope and complexities of our bilateral exercises. We held extensive discussions on ways to enhance maritime cooperation including Maritime Domain Awareness,” Singh stated in a tweet.
The defence minister urged the Japanese defence companies to explore the opportunity of investing in the Indian Defence Corridors.
During the meeting, India also 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 between the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Indian Armed Forces in the exercise.
Japan and India participate in multiple bilateral and multilateral defence exercises including Dharma Guardian, JIMEX and Malabar.
The next 2+2 ministerial meeting between India and Japan will be convened in New Delhi. The first such meeting took place in India on November 30, 2019.