Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday, 8 September, met with his Japanese counterpart Yasukazu Hamada and said the bilateral special strategic and global partnership between the two countries plays a crucial role in ensuring a free, open and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.
Singh, who is on the last leg of his five-day visit to Mongolia and Japan, met Japan's Minister of Defence Hamada in Tokyo.
"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.
"India and Japan pursue a Special Strategic and Global Partnership. India's defence partnership with Japan will play a crucial role in ensuring a free, open and rules-based Indo Pacific region," he tweeted.
India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvring in the region.
China's Rising Military Might
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.
In a statement, India's Defence Ministry said that during the delegation-level talks, Singh highlighted that the growing complexities in the India-Japan bilateral defence exercises is a testimony to the deepening of defence cooperation between the two countries.
He emphasised on the need to expand the scope of partnership in the field of Defence Equipment and Technological Cooperation.
The minister invited Japanese industries to invest in India's defence corridors where a conducive environment for the growth of the defence industry has been created by the Government of India, the statement said.
The two ministers expressed their commitment in continuing bilateral and multilateral exercises including ‘Dharma Guardian', ‘JIMEX' and ‘Malabar', it said.
They welcomed the operationalisation of the Reciprocal Provision of Supply and Services Agreement during Exercise ‘MILAN' in March this year.
In Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has promised a "substantial" defence spending increase. His ruling Liberal Democratic Party wants to double Japan's military budget to 2% of gross domestic product over the next five years amid worry Russia's invasion of Ukraine could embolden China to act against neighboring Taiwan.
The two ministers also agreed that the early conduct of the inaugural fighter exercise will pave way for much greater cooperation and interoperability between the Air Forces of the two countries.
This year marks 70 years of diplomatic relations between India and Japan.
In Tokyo, Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will join their Japanese counterparts at the '2+2' foreign and defence ministerial dialogue later in the day. The 2+2 Dialogue will review bilateral cooperation across domains and chart out the way forward.
The ‘2+2' dialogue is taking place more than five months after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited India for the annual India-Japan summit.