Amid China’s growing assertiveness in the East Asia theatre, the defence ministers of India and Japan have underlined the need to make defence technology ties “a key pillar” of their multifaceted bilateral relations. The two ministers also agreed to fast-track negotiations for Tokyo’s export of US-2 amphibious aircraft to New Delhi.
India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar held wide-ranging talks with his Japanese counterpart Gen. Nakatani in Tokyo March 30. After Japan eased its rule of exports of defense equipment and technology in April 2014, India and Japan have been engaging each other on India’s possible purchase of US-2 amphibious aircraft, which can be used in maritime rescue operations. During the meeting, India’s defence minister conveyed to Gen. Nakatani that India wants talks on US-2 to proceed in a manner beneficial to both countries. He also emphasised on the importance of speeding up the negotiations of exports of the plane.
Sensing the potential in the India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make-In-India” initiative, ShinMaywa Industries Ltd., a Hyogo Prefecture-based manufacturer of the US-2, has already begun talks with multiple Indian firms to set up a joint corporation.
“However, there was no discussion on the joint production; we have agreed to actively cooperate in ensuring maritime security, which is of common interest for both countries,” said the Japanese defence minister.
According to a defence ministry official, Gen. Nakatani also spoke about the importance of trilateral security cooperation with the US and proposed that the MSDF should continue participating in the India-U.S. Malabar maritime exercises.
Ahead of his talks with Nakatani, Mr Parrikar called on Mr Abe. Speaking on the importance of relations between India and Japan, Mr Abe underlined that “a strong India leads to a strong Japan, and a strong Japan leads to a strong India.”
“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,” said Mr Abe.
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