NEW DELHI: India and Japan have reaffirmed their desire to further deepen the strategic and defence cooperation on Tuesday raising it to a 2+2 dialogue focusing on the Indo-Pacific region.
The decision was mutually taken in Tokyo between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Japanese counterpart Takeshi Iwaya during the annual Defence Ministerial Meeting on September 2.
Talking about the decision, Bharat Bhushan Babu, Spokesperson, Ministry of Defence (MoD) said, “The two (nations) affirmed their intention to hold the first Foreign and Defence Ministerial Dialogue (2+2) ahead of the Japan-India Annual Summit this year for advancing cooperation towards peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.”
Rajnath Singh is on a two-day bilateral visit to Japan which ended on Tuesday.
Singh and Iwaya recalled that Prime Ministers of India and Japan in their Vision Statement in October 2018 reiterated their unwavering commitment towards working for a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The MoD added, “The ministers recognised that peace and stability of the Indian and Pacific Oceans are crucial for ensuring prosperity of the region and the entire world. They had a frank exchange of views on the current security situation in the region, including developments on the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea.”
The ministers welcomed that negotiations on the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) have shown progress since announcement of the commencement of negotiations in the summit meeting in October last year, communicated the Ministry of Defence (MoD) through formal release. Once done, it will allow the two countries to use each other’s bases for logistical support.
Both the defence ministers expressed satisfaction over the steady progress in exercises between the various service of the Japan Self Defence Forces and the Indian Armed Forces. The two have agreed to raise it further and continue with the exchanges of officers.
The preparation for the second India-Japan counter-terrorism exercise 'Dharma Guardian' this year has been steadily progressing. The two leaders welcomed that both the sides have produced concrete results in making it a regular exercise.
The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Forces and the Indian Navy have conducted bilateral exercises at an advanced level.
Singh and Iwaya welcomed that the Japan-India-US trilateral maritime exercise 'Malabar 2019' will be held from late September to early October this year. They also welcomed that the second Japan-India-US trilateral mine-countermeasures exercise (MINEX) was held in July this year, and expressed their resolve to continue the trilateral exercise in the same framework from next year onwards.
Rajnath Singh left Japan for a two-day official visit to the Republic of Korea.