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SOURCE: ANI

The Defence and Foreign ministers of India and Japan held the second 2+2 ministerial on Thursday where they had a discussion on the regional and global issues of mutual interests and concerns, particularly those in the Indo-Pacific as well as Ukraine.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar held meetings with their counterpart from Japan, Foreign Affairs Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the meeting featured a discussion on the progress in defence cooperation as the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to a rules-based global order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations.

“The Ministers had a frank and fruitful discussion on the regional and global issues of mutual interests and concerns, particularly those in the Indo-Pacific as well as Ukraine. The Ministers strongly reaffirmed what their Prime Ministers recently committed to in their Joint Statement of 19 March 2022 (“Partnership for a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Post-COVID World”) with respect to regional and global security challenges,” the joint statement said.

The Ministers highlighted their commitment 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. They also reiterated their strong support for ASEAN’s unity and centrality and their full support for the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP)” which upholds the principles such as the rule of law, openness, freedom, transparency and inclusiveness.

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, the Indian side expressed its supportto work towards enhanced security and defence cooperation.

The Ministers noted with pleasure the progress made since the last meeting in November 2019 in the bilateral security and defence cooperation, which constitutes an important pillar of the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership.

“They welcomed deepened cooperation discussed through the Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Dialogue of February 2021, the Maritime Affairs Dialogue of September 2021, the Space Dialogue of November 2021, and the Cyber Dialogue of June 2022, respectively,” the joint statement read.

Recognizing the importance of multilayered dialogues between the two countries, they looked forward to having dialogues at an early date in areas such as Security Council reform with a view to strengthening the functions of the UN as a whole. They also acknowledged the importance of enhancing dialogues in the field of economic security.

The Ministers noted the progress in the defence cooperation and exchanges between the two sides. The Ministers welcomed the participation of Japan for the first time in the multilateral exercise MILAN and the operationalization of the Agreement Concerning Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Indian Armed Forces in the exercise.

The Ministers expressed their commitment to continuing bilateral and multilateral exercises including “Dharma Guardian”, JIMEX and “Malabar.” The Ministers noted with pleasure that the air services of the two countries are working closely for the early conduct of inaugural India-Japan fighter exercise. The Ministers also expressed their shared intention to make continuous efforts towards more complex and sophisticated bilateral exercise.

Ministers of India and Japan also concurred to launch the Joint Service Staff Talks between the Japan Joint Staff and the Indian Integrated Defence Staff. The Ministers also committed to seek deeper cooperation on HA/DR and response to infectious diseases and pandemics.

Acknowledging the potential of the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region, the Ministers looked forward to actively deepening multilateral coordination with liaison officers of other countries in the forum for enhanced maritime cooperation.

The Ministers acknowledged the vast potential for the two countries to expand bilateral cooperation in the areas of defence equipment and technology cooperation.

The Ministers further expressed satisfaction with the ongoing cooperation in the areas of Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV)/Robotics and the Sixth India-Japan Joint Working Groupon Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation and concurred to further identify concrete areas for future cooperation in defence equipment and technology.