With an eye fixed on China, Japan’s overseas and defence ministers on Thursday advised visiting Exterior Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh that they’re analyzing “all options” needed for nationwide defence together with “counterstrike capabilities”, and can enhance their defence funds considerably to strengthen their capabilities.
Singh and Jaishankar, who held the two+2 ministerial assembly in Tokyo with Japan’s Overseas Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada, expressed their help for enhanced safety and defence cooperation.
“While expressing its resolve to examine all options necessary for national defence, including so-called ‘counterstrike capabilities’, the Japanese side expressed its determination to fundamentally reinforce Japan’s defence capabilities within the next five years and secure substantial increase of Japan’s defence budget needed to effect it. Acknowledging Japan’s determination to reinforce its defence capabilities, Indian side expressed its support to work towards enhanced security and defence cooperation,” mentioned the joint assertion after the two+2 ministerial assembly.
With out mentioning China’s belligerence within the area, the assertion mentioned: “Acknowledging that global cooperation is required more than ever to address security challenges that have become more acute, the ministers reaffirmed their commitment to a rules-based global order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, and emphasised the need for all countries to seek peaceful resolution of disputes, in accordance with international law, without resorting to threat or use of force or any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo.”
“During today’s discussions, we noted the progress in the military-to-military cooperation and exchanges between the two sides. We shared a common desire to further increase the scope and complexities of our bilateral exercises. We have established staff talks and high-level dialogue between all the three services and the Coast Guard. I am glad that we have now agreed on staff talks between the joint staff of the Japanese Self Defence Forces and the Integrated Defence Staff of India,” mentioned Singh.
“The participation of Japan for the first time in the multilateral exercise MILAN and operationalisation of the Reciprocal Provision of Supply and Services Agreement in March this year are milestones in the progress of defence cooperation between our forces. We are happy to note that our Air Forces are working closely for early conduct of the inaugural Air Force fighter exercise,” he mentioned.
“Enhancing the defence equipment and technological cooperation between India and Japan is one of our 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 mentioned.
Jaishankar flagged the Covid-19 pandemic and the “ongoing conflicts” as “new challenges” and underscored the necessity to deal with them. “We have witnessed in recent times very serious developments, especially since our last meeting in 2019. The Covid pandemic and ongoing conflicts demand that we address these new challenges,” he mentioned.
The two+2 dialogue is going down greater than 5 months after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited India for the annual India-Japan summit.
The joint assertion mentioned the ministers highlighted their dedication to a “common strategic goal of achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific, that is inclusive and resilient, based on the rule of law, and free from coercion. The ministers also reiterated their strong support for ASEAN’s unity and centrality and their full support for the ‘ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific’ which upholds principles such as the rule of law, openness, freedom, transparency and inclusiveness.”
Underlining that the ministers had a “frank and fruitful” dialogue on regional and international problems with mutual pursuits and issues, significantly these within the Indo-Pacific in addition to Ukraine, it mentioned additionally they reaffirmed their commitments with respect to regional and international safety challenges.
“We held extensive discussions on ways to enhance maritime cooperation including maritime domain awareness. There is consensus on both sides that a strong India-Japan relationship is very important for a free, open, rule-based and inclusive Indo-Pacific based upon sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations. India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative shares many commonalities with Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific. India has also developed maritime cooperation with regional partners in consonance with our inclusive vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region,” mentioned Singh.
Jaishankar mentioned that within the face of such challenges, the case for India and Japan to collaborate extra carefully on overseas coverage and safety has change into even stronger. “Strengthening our foreign policy coordination is essential to realise the true benefits of the substantial convergence in our interests and outlook. They obviously concentrate on the Indo-Pacific but extend to many other regional, global and multilateral platforms as well. The exchange of views on the crucial situations facing the international community today was particularly useful. In parallel, there is an ongoing endeavor to deepen our defence exchanges and explore areas for practical cooperation,” he mentioned.