India, Japan to ‘upgrade’ defence cooperation

Tokyo: India and Japan today decided to “upgrade” and “strengthen” their defence cooperation as they asked officials to launch consultations to promote military equipment collaboration and accelerate discussions on modalities for the sale of Japanese US-2 amphibian aircraft.

The decision to firm-up defence ties came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held summit-level talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe here.

“The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of defence relations between India and Japan in their strategic partnership and decided to upgrade and strengthen them,” a joint statement issued after the talks said.

The two sides signed a Memorandum of Cooperation and Exchanges in the Field of Defence during Prime Minister Modi’s five-day visit.

“We intend to give a new thrust and direction to our defence cooperation, including collaboration in defence technology and equipment, given our shared interest in peace and stability and maritime security. We have also decided to expand our cooperation in advanced technology, science and technology, people-to-people exchanges, educational exchanges, etc,” Modi said at the joint press briefing with Abe.

The two sides stressed on the importance of the regularisation of bilateral maritime exercises as well as on Japan’s continued participation in India-US Malabar series of exercises.

Prime Minister Modi welcomed the recent developments in Japan’s policy on transfer of defence equipment and technology.

“The two Prime Ministers expressed hope that this would usher in a new era of cooperation in defence equipment and technology. They recognised the enormous future potential for transfer and collaborative projects in defence equipment and technology between the two countries,” the statement said.

India and Japan directed their officials to launch working-level consultations between the two countries with a view to promoting defence equipment and technology cooperation.

The two sides also decided to accelerate their discussions in the Joint Working Group on cooperation in US-2 amphibian aircraft and its technology.

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