With China getting more aggressive geopolitically in the region, India and Japan on Thursday agreed to step up bilateral defence cooperation and engage in more military exercises. Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held talks in Tokyo with his Japanese counterpart, Yasukazu Hamada.
India and Japan decided to hold the first joint fighter jet drills. Rajnath Singh invited Japanese industries to invest in India's defence corridors.
"Reviewed various aspects of bilateral defence cooperation and regional affairs during the bilateral meeting with Japan's Minister of Defence, Mr Yasukazu Hamada in Tokyo today. This year marks 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries," Singh tweeted.
Reviewed various aspects of bilateral defence cooperation and regional affairs during the bilateral meeting with the Japan’s Minister of Defence, Mr Yasukazu Hamada in Tokyo today. This year marks 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. pic.twitter.com/GvWpdrb4cH— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) September 8, 2022
Stability in the Indo-Pacific region: India and Japan agreed that their ties play a crucial role in ensuring a free, open and rules-based Indo-Pacific region. India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) shares many commonalities with Japan's Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP), India's Defence Minister said. "India has also developed maritime cooperation with regional partners in consonance with our inclusive vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)," he said.
China's claims in the regions: China claims almost all the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea, where it has established military outposts on artificial islands, reported Reuters. In the East China Sea, China claims a group of uninhabited Japanese-administered islets. China also claims Taiwan to be an essential part of the country though it has never ruled the country.
Resistance to China: Japan, India, US and Australia are members of the Quad group of countries that hold annual naval exercises across the Indo-Pacific region. These drills are done to make sure China knows that it will face resistance if it tries to claim new territories. The last meeting of Quad leaders, in May in Japan, was dominated by discussion about Taiwan after US President Joe Biden angered China by saying he would be willing to use force to defend the democratic island, reported Reuters.
India-Japan Fighter jet drills: India and Japan defence ministers agreed that the early conduct of the inaugural fighter exercise will pave the way for much greater cooperation and interoperability between the air forces of the two countries. "We are happy to note that our Air Forces are working closely for early conduct of the inaugural Air Force fighter exercise," Singh said.
Defence partnership: Rajnath Singh, while inviting Japanese industries to invest in the Indian defence sector, said that enhancing defence equipment and technological cooperation between the two countries was of their key priority areas. "In our meeting today, I had the opportunity to propose engagements in emerging and critical technological domains. I have also invited the Japanese defence companies to look at opportunities in investing in the Indian Defence Corridors," he said.