Taking their ties to new heights, India and Japan on Saturday held the first senior-level dialogue on foreign affairs and security, during which they discussed ways to enhance security cooperation and extensively reviewed bilateral ties, including commencement of talks for the nuclear pact.
While India, for the first time, held such an engagement --known as '2+2 dialogue'-- Japan has been involved in such consultation with mutual allies-- the US and Australia.
The fact that Japan has extended such deliberations with a country other than its mutual allies, shows the significance the ties are assuming.
The Indian side was led by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, while Deputy Foreign Minister Kenichiro Sasae and Vice Defence Minister Kimito Nakae represented Japan.
While reviewing the status of bilateral ties, the two sides noted with satisfaction the commencement of negotiations on an India-Japan Agreement on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, the conclusion of which will enable Japanese companies to participate in the civil nuclear energy sector in India, according to an official release.
The Indian side noted with appreciation the removal of several Indian entities from the Japanese End User List, thereby promoting High Technology Trade between the two countries.
The engagement takes place just days after the two countries initiated talks on June 28-29 on the civil nuclear cooperation, a move which was widely hailed as a breakthrough as it marked a major shift in the position of Japan -- the only country which has been opposing any atomic dealing with a non-NPT signatory country.
India and Japan will continue to cooperate in their efforts to reform the United Nations Security Council, including in the G-4 framework, the release said.
In the area of security, each side provided the other with an exposition of its defence and security policies in the framework of their respective security environments.
Against this background, the two sides reviewed the India–Japan Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation and the Action Plan to advance such cooperation, according to an official release from External Affairs Ministry.
Besides discussing non-traditional threats to security, the two sides decided to hold the next meeting of the India–Japan Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism at an early date with an aim to strengthen cooperation in this field.