Tokyo (Japan): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday stressed on the need to expand the scope of partnership between India and Japan in defence equipment and technological cooperation and invited Japanese industries to invest in India's defence corridors.
During bilateral talks in Tokyo, Singh and his Japanese counterpart Yasukazu Hamada expressed their commitment to continue bilateral and multilateral exercises and agreed that the early conduct of the inaugural fighter exercise will pave the way for "much greater cooperation and interoperability" between the Air Forces of the two countries.
"Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh held bilateral talks with Minister of Defence of Japan Yasukazu Hamada in Tokyo on September 8," the defence ministry said in a statement.
The two ministers reviewed various aspects of bilateral defence cooperation as well as regional affairs and acknowledged the importance of India-Japan defence partnership and the critical role it will play in ensuring "a free, open and rules-based Indo-Pacific region", the ministry said.
"The Raksha Mantri emphasised on the need to expand the scope of partnership in the field of defence equipment and technological cooperation. He 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 ministry added.
During the delegation-level talks, the ministry said, 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.
"The ministers expressed their commitment in continuing bilateral and multilateral exercises including 'Dharma Guardian', 'JIMEX' and 'Malabar'," the defence ministry said.
They welcomed the operationalisation of the reciprocal provision of supply and services agreement during exercise 'MILAN' in March this year, it said.
"The two ministers agreed that the early conduct of the inaugural fighter exercise will pave the way for much greater cooperation and interoperability between the Air Forces of the two countries," it added.
After reaching Tokyo on the night of September 7, the ministry said, Singh began his day's engagements by laying a wreath at a memorial at Japan's ministry of defense dedicated to the personnel of Japan Self Defense Forces who laid down their lives in the line of duty.
"He was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour before the bilateral meeting with the Japanese Defense Minister," the ministry said.
Later in the day, the ministry said, Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will participate in the 2nd India-Japan 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue which will review bilateral cooperation across domains and chart out the way forward.
The Japanese side will be represented by Minister of Defense Hamada and Minister of Foreign Affairs Yoshimasa Hayashi, the ministry said.
"This year marks 70 years of diplomatic relations between India and Japan. As two robust democracies, the two countries are pursuing a special strategic and global partnership," the ministry added.