Friday, November 4, 2011

India, Japan to step up defence ties

India and Japan have decided to increase their military engagement by conducting joint naval exercises and stepping up interaction between the armies and air forces.

At the India-Japan Defence Ministers' meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday, both sides discussed issues of maritime security, anti-piracy measures, freedom of navigation. The two sides also exchanged views on regional and international security and decided to step up defence cooperation.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony said the development was transparent and “geared towards peace and prosperity of the region.”
As per the agreement, vessels and aircraft of the Indian Navy and Japan's Maritime Self Defence Force (MSDF) would pay mutual visits next year, during which bilateral exercises would be conducted, the Defence Ministry here said on Thursday.

So far, India, Japan and the United States jointly conducted a trilateral ‘Malabar' exercise that Beijing protested in 2007. The 2011 such exercise, scheduled on the Okinawa coast, did not take place after Japan expressed its inability to take part post-Fukushima earthquake.

Discussing the specifics of exchanges and cooperation, the two sides expressed satisfaction at the planned activities based on agreed annual calendars. The Japanese Defence Minister will visit India early next year.

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