With an eye on China, India, Japan bolster maritime cooperation

Amid shifting geopolitical equations in the Indo-Pacific region, India and Japan have bolstered their maritime and security cooperation through the 2+2 dialogue mechanism involving defence and foreign ministers of the two countries.

India and Japan held their fifth 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi on June 19, which focused on strengthening their cooperation in counter-terrorism, maritime security, defence equipment & technology, and peacekeeping operations.

At the meeting, India was represented by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and Japan was represented by Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeo Mori and Vice-Minister of Defence for International Affairs Ro Manabe.

“The discussions, which also centered on important issues covering regional and global dimensions, helped to further underscore the shared values and interests between India and Japan,” a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

The meeting was productive and held in a “friendly and forward-looking manner in keeping with the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership,” it said. Over the last few years, India and Japan have scaled up their strategic partnership in view of China’s increasing assertiveness in the region.

The two countries have denied any China containment strategy, but many experts say that China’s rising military power and project have propelled Asia’s two leading democracies to intensify maritime and strategic cooperation.

India and Japan, along with the US and Australia, are participating in the Quadrilateral Dialogue to shape a balanced regional architecture.

Building on the convergence between India’s Act East policy and Japan’s ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy,’ India and Japan are partnering in the Africa-Asia Growth Corridor, which is widely seen as a counter to China’s Belt and Road initiative.

(Mansheetal Singh contributed inputs for this article)