New Delhi. India and Japan today asserted that the two countries had “unwavering commitment to working together towards a free and open Indo-Pacific,” with the Prime Ministers of the two nations having also expressed satisfaction at the progress made in fostering defence cooperation for shared security with the Defence Ministers Rajnath Singh and Takeshi Iwaya reaffirming their desire to further deepen the strategic and defence cooperation between Japan and India.
In a joint statement by the two ministers at the conclusion of Singh’s visit to Japan, the Ministers 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.
They welcomed that negotiations on the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) have shown progress since the announcement of the commencement of negotiations in the Summit Meeting in October last year.
The Ministers recognised that peace and stability of the Indian and Pacific Oceans are crucial for ensuring prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region and the entire world, and had a frank exchange of views on the current security situation in the Indo-Pacific region, including developments on the Korean Peninsula and in the South China Sea.
They welcomed the steady progress in bilateral cooperation in the area of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) based on the Implementing Arrangement for Deeper Cooperation between the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Indian Navy signed last year.
The Ministers welcomed the first bilateral exercise between the JGSDF and the Indian Army in the area of counter-terrorism “Dharma Guardian” was held in the autumn of 2018. Noting that the preparation for the second exercise this year has been steadily progressing, the Ministers welcomed that both sides have produced concrete results for making it a regular exercise.
They welcomed the Japan-India-U.S. trilateral maritime exercise “MALABAR 2019” to be held from late September to early October this year and also the second Japan-India-U.S. trilateral mine-countermeasures exercise (MINEX) held in July this year, and expressed their resolve to continue the trilateral exercise in the same framework from next year onwards. The Ministers recognised the conduct of Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX) in 2018 and shared the view to conduct the exercise on a regular basis.
The Ministers reaffirmed that strengthening cooperation in the area of defence equipment and technology is essential for further accelerating the cooperation between Japan and India and welcomed that high-level exchanges between the Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) and the Department of Defence Production (DDP) have been actively held including the visit of the Secretary of Defence Production to Japan in November 2018 and the visit of the Commissioner of ATLA to India in February 2019.