Amid increasing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region, Japan on Tuesday sought enhanced cooperation with India in defence and security sector including in the field of maritime security.
Making it clear that India considers relations with Tokyo of “great importance”, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said Japan is a privileged partner in the ‘Make in India’ initiative including the defence technology sector.
Parrikar, who is on a four-day visit to Japan, on Tuesday held talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.
During the talks, Kishida emphasised on the commonality of strategic interests between the two countries and conveyed Japan’s desire to enhance bilateral defence and security cooperation including in the field of maritime security.
He said Japan would like to further enhance economic cooperation with India and work jointly to enhance regional connectivity, an official statement said.
Parrikar welcomed Japan’s initiative to strengthen bilateral ties.
India and Japan are looking at deepening bilateral defence cooperation amid Tokyo’s ongoing tussle with Beijing.
Japan has been witnessing conflict with China over control of private islands in South China Sea. A territorial dispute even exists between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands, which Beijing refers to as the Diaoyu Islands.
India considers relations with Japan very important, which is evident from the fact that he chose Japan as the first country to visit after assuming office of Defence Minister, Parrikar said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who met with Parrikar on Monday, had told him that “a strong” India-Japan partnership was not only in the “national interest of the two” but also “important for peace and security in the region”.