India, Japan pledge to strengthening security, defence cooperation

NEW DELHI, India and Japan agreed Saturday to further strengthening their existing bilateral security and defence cooperation amid growing Chinese influence in the region.

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met their Japanese counterparts Kono Taro and Motegi Toshimitsu respectively in New Delhi for the first India-Japan 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting and discussed ways of enhancing defence and security cooperation, a statement from the Indian External Affairs Ministry said.

Both the sides agreed to advance bilateral security cooperation based on the 2008 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation and the 2009 Action Plan to advance Security Cooperation.

Both the sides asserted that further strengthening of bilateral cooperation between the two nations is “in mutual interest of both countries and would also help in furthering the cause of the peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” amid growing Chinese influence in the region.

The ministers welcomed bilateral exercises between all three components of their defence forces and pledged to continue efforts for holding the bilateral exercises between the defence forces regularly and further expanding the same.

During the talks both the sides welcomed “the significant progress made in the negotiations of Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement and expressed their desire for early conclusion of the negotiations and were of the view that the agreement will further contribute to enhancing defence cooperation between the two sides.” The ministers announced their plan to promote cooperation in the field of capacity building in maritime security and Maritime Domain Awareness in order to ensure maritime safety in achieving a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific, the statement added.

They also agreed to strengthen the defence equipment and technology cooperation and expected productive discussions in the fifth Joint Working Group on Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation.

“The ministers reaffirmed the importance of realizing North Korea’s complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and expressed their commitment to the full implementation of the relevant UNSCRs,” the statement said.

Both the sides also condemned North Korea’s uses of ballistic missiles in violation of the relevant UNSCRs and urged North Korea to resolve the abductions issue at the earliest.

The Indian and Japanese ministers exchanged views on the recent developments in the South China Sea and “reaffirmed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce and peaceful resolution of disputes with full respect for legal and diplomatic processes in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law, including those reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.” The ministerial meeting acknowledged that terrorism is a major threat to peace and security in the region and condemned its growing threat. “The ministers called upon all countries take resolute action in rooting out terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and eliminating financing channels and halting cross-border movement of terrorists,” the statement said.

The visiting Japanese ministers also met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which Modi said he and Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe attach great importance to strengthening bilateral partnership between the two countries and told the ministers that he is looking forward to welcome Abe to India for India-Japan Annual Summit next month.

Source: Kuwait News Agency