Tokyo, Sept 6: Deepening cooperation in defence and security, India and Japan have agreed to enhance exchanges between their forces which is likely to translate into more bilateral exercises, as well as more exchanges in the field of technology and equipment as India looks towards increasing its domestic defence production. This comes after a bilateral dialogue between the Defence Ministers of India and Japan on September 5-6, that took place as Prime Minister rendra Modi was in Chi for the BRICS summit from September 3-5. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera, as part of the annual India-Japan Defence Ministerial Dialogue held in Tokyo, exchanged views on the security situation in the Indo-Pacific region. The talks are likely to have touched on the over 70-day stand-off between India and Chi along the border in Doklam, even though the statement did not me Chi anywhere. However, it did carry a joint condemtion of North Korea’s September 3 nuclear test. Both sides also expressed satisfaction on the India-US-Japan val exercise Malabar 2017, that took place in the Bay of Bengal in July and led to unease in Chi.
India and Japan expressed satisfaction at the continued deepening and diversification of bilateral defence cooperation since the signing of the bilateral Memorandum on Defence Co-operation and Exchanges in September 2014 and the two Defence Framework agreements signed in December 2015. It also observed that through institutiolised dialogues and visits, defence cooperation between the two countries has been strengthened.
In 2018, the Japanese Defence Minister will visit India. The Armies of both tions will explore holding a joint exercise on anti-terrorism next year for the first time. Japan also invited India to participate in a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise held by Japan Ground Self Defence Force as an observer. Onodera expressed his intention to have state-of-the-art Japanese assets including P-1 to participate in the next edition of the Malabar exercise in 2018 and Jaitley welcomed his proposal. (IANS)