India’s defence minister to visit Japan

parrikarIndia and Japan are set to impart a fresh ballast to their burgeoning military ties when Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar goes on his maiden foreign visit to Japan.

Mr Parrikar will be on a two-day trip starting from March 30 and hold wide-ranging talks with his Japanese defence counterpart.

Defence Minister A. K. Antony was the last Indian defence minister to visit Japan. Analysts say that Mr Parrikar’s choice of Japan for his first international visit is laden with enormous strategic importance.

The core thrust of Mr Parrikar’s visit will be to spur defense cooperation and push India’s’ Make in India’ initiative by enlisting Japanese technolgies for indigenization of the country’s defence industries.

Enhancing joint exercises and export of cutting-edge military technology will figure high on the agenda.

The Indian government is yet to take a final decision on a major defence deal for acquiring 12 amphibious aircraft – US2 from Japan.

The Defense Acquisitions Committee, led by Mr. Parrikar, had sought additional information on the deal and therefore, a final decision is pending.

China, Japan’s rival, will be closely watching the visit as Beijing has been wary of growing India-Japan defence cooperation which it feels is targeted at its rise.

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