India and Japan are on Thursday likely to discuss the events unfolding in South China Sea, with Beijing rejecting a United Nations-backed tribunal’s ruling in a case related to the disputed waters.
South Block sources said Japanese defence minister Gen Nakatani and his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar would discuss a broad range of issues on Thursday, including the fragile security situation the South China Sea and Beijing’s aggressive posturing there.
Nakatani is on a day’s visit to India, cutting short a three-day tour amid rising tensions in the region.
The court in The Hague on Tuesday rejected Beijing’s claims to the resource-rich waters.
India has maintained that freedom of navigation and overflight should be upheld as per international law, and the dispute should be resolved peacefully .
China has rejected the tribunal’s order as null and void and threatened to impose an air defence over over the disputed waters. Beijing boycotted the hearings at the court.
Tensions between Tokyo and Beijing have been simmering in the East China Sea over a chain of disputed islands.
China has also objected to India’s oil exploration efforts in the sea, despite the blocks allotted to New Delhi falling in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone.
“There have been some significant developments (in the South China Sea case) and these are likely to come up for discussion,” a source said.
China has been wary of deepening maritime cooperation between India and Japan. India and the US have broadened the scope of their naval partnership called Exercise Malabar, which is now a trilateral engagement with Japan on board.
China has been suspicious of the trilateral engagement and has even lodged formal protests in the past.
Tokyo assigned a naval attaché to its embassy in New Delhi for the first time two years ago, signalling a desire to expand its maritime ties with India.
Japan is hoping to conclude a deal to supply nine ShinMaywa US-2 amphibious aircraft to the Indian Navy, in what could be Tokyo’s first overseas military sale since it imposed a weapons export ban in 1967. The deal is worth more than Rs 6,000 crore.