At India-Japan 2+2 meet on Sept 8, joint exercises, defence cooperation is focus
India-Japan 2+2 dialogue: The Japanese side is keen to explore ways to work together with India on the joint development and manufacturing of advanced military hardware
NEW DELHI: India and Japan will hold their second 2+2 dialogue of the defence and foreign ministers in Tokyo on September 8 to take forward strategic cooperation in key areas such as joint exercises and defence manufacturing.
The meeting will be held weeks before an expected visit to Japan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the state funeral of former prime minister Shinzo Abe on September 27, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
There was no official word from both countries regarding the meeting or PM Modi’s expected visit.
The Japanese side has been pushing for the holding of the 2+2 since the first quarter of this year. The meeting, which will bring together defence minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S Jaishankar with their Japanese counterparts Yasukazu Hamada and Yoshimasa Hayashi, will chart the course for future cooperation in crucial areas related to defence, emerging technologies and joint exercises, the people said.
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Earlier this year, India and Japan operationalised a key agreement for reciprocal provision of supplies and services between their defence forces, and the 2+2 meeting will look at ways to build on this arrangement, the people said. The Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) between Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and India’s armed forces was signed in September 2020.
The meeting will be an opportunity for the two sides to review regional security challenges at a time when India and Japan are concerned about China’s aggressive actions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and in the South China Sea and East China Sea.
The 2+2 meeting will also focus on enhancing exchanges between the armed forces and security establishments of the two sides and joint exercises, the people added.
The Japanese side is keen to explore ways to work together on the joint development and manufacturing of advanced military hardware. Though Japan does not have a very well established military manufacturing industry, it has expertise and materials that can be used for the joint development of equipment, the people said.
India currently has 2+2 meetings with only a handful of strategic partners, including the US, Russia, Australia and Japan. Barring Russia, the three other countries are also India’s partners in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad.
The first India-Japan 2+2 meeting was held in New Delhi in November 2019.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Kyodo news service quoted unnamed Japanese government officials as saying that Modi is planning to attend the Abe’s state funeral in Tokyo next month.
Modi, who had a close relationship with Abe, is expected to meet Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during the visit. Modi last travelled to Japan in May for a summit of the Quad that was hosted by Kishida. He had met Abe during that visit.
Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, was shot while delivering an election campaign speech last month.
Scores of world leaders are expected to attend Abe’s funeral.