India extended its support for Japan’s plan to overhaul its defense policy and develop counterattack capabilities in the face of growing belligerence from China, North Korea and Russia.
New Delhi and Tokyo have also agreed to launch a joint exercise with the participation of Indian and Japanese air force fighter jets.
As External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh joined their counterparts in Tokyo for the second India-Japan 2+2 dialogue, they discussed the security environment in the Indo-Pacific region and the beyond, in particular Russian military operations in Ukraine, Chinese aggression in the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.
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The ministers recognized the vast potential of India and Japan to expand bilateral cooperation in the fields of defense equipment and technology cooperation. They reviewed ongoing cooperation in the fields of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) and robotics and agreed to further identify concrete areas for future cooperation in defense equipment and technologies.
Jaishankar and Singh joined Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and Hamada Yasukazu in reaffirming New Delhi and Tokyo’s commitment to a rules-based global order and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. nations. Ministers sent a tacit message to Beijing and Moscow and stressed the need for all countries to seek peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law without resorting to the threat or use of force or any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo.
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Yoshimasa and Yasukazu let Jaishankar and Singh know that Tokyo had decided to consider all necessary options for national defense, including so-called “counterattack capabilities”, to fundamentally strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities in over the next five years and significantly increase Japan’s defense budget. Singh and Jaishankar, acknowledging the Japanese government’s determination to enhance the nation’s defense capabilities, expressed India’s readiness to work for enhanced security and defense cooperation between India and Japan, according to a joint communiqué issued after the 2+2 ministerial meeting in Tokyo.
The meeting came even as Russian and Chinese warships recently conducted a joint operation in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan as part of the Vostok 2022 military exercise organized by the former nation of Soviet Union. Tokyo objected to the maritime component of the exercise because it took place near the Northern Territories, aka the South Kuril Islands, claimed by both Japan and Russia. New Delhi sent an Indian Army contingent to participate in the exercise, but refrained from sending a warship to participate in its maritime component to avoid Japanese sensitivity.
“We are two nations committed to promoting a rules-based order, ensuring respect for international law and standards, and safeguarding the global commons,” Jaishankar said as he, Singh, Yoshimasa and Yasukazu addressed the media after the meeting. “To our efforts in this regard are now added the need to create resilient and reliable supply chains in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Conflicts and climatic events have further aggravated the global economic situation, creating deep concerns for energy and food security. Trust and transparency are our common concerns in a digitized world.
“I also invited Japanese defense companies to consider investment opportunities in Indian (industrial) defense corridors,” Singh said. He said India and Japan shared a common desire to further increase the scope and complexity of bilateral exercises.