The Defense Minister of Japan Gen Nakatani is paying a bilateral visit to India at the invitation of Raksha Mantri Shri Manohar Parrikar. The two Ministers held the annual Defence Ministerial Meeting on 14 July 2016 in New Delhi.
The Ministers exchanged ideas in a constructive, productive and positive atmosphere under the framework of the “India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership”. There was shared recognition that imperatives of a stronger bilateral strategic partnership require deep and broad based cooperation and concrete actions in defence and security fields. The two countries can work together to respond to global and regional challenges and jointly contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region. The Ministers exchanged views and ideas on a wide range of issues pertaining to the current regional and international security situation as well as deepening of bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges. The Ministers also explained to each other their respective defence policies to promote mutual understanding.
The Ministers expressed deep condolences to both Japanese and Indian victims of the terrorist attack perpetrated in Bangladesh on 1st July 2016. The Ministers resolutely condemned this brutal act of terrorism and reaffirmed that all forms and manifestations of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable under all circumstances, and noted that terrorism poses one of the most serious threats to the peace and security of the international community, as well as to the stability and development of the region. They shared their concerns about the growing threat and universal reach of extremism. They emphasized that the evolving character of terrorism called for stronger international partnership in combating terrorism.
The Ministers recognized that the security and stability of the Seas connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans are indispensable for the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region. The Ministers expressed concern over recent developments in this regard. They reaffirmed the importance of respecting international law, as reflected notably in the UNCLOS, of the peaceful settlement of the disputes without any threat or use of force, and of ensuring freedom and safety of navigation and over-flight as well as unimpeded lawful commerce in international waters. In this context, they noted the Award of the Arbitral Tribunal on the South China Sea under the UNCLOS on 12 July 2016, and urged all parties to show utmost respect for the UNCLOS.
The Ministers expressed grave concern over North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes. They urged North Korea to take concrete actions towards denuclearization and other goals as well as to fully comply with its international obligations, including under all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
The Ministers acknowledged the importance of ASEAN-centered dialogue mechanisms including the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus).They also welcomed other efforts under its framework including ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group (EWG) and recognized its utility. Minister Nakatani expressed his appreciation to the efforts made by Ministry of Defence of India as a chair of Humanitarian Mine Action EWG, and Minister Parrikar expressed his appreciation to the efforts made by Ministry of Defense of Japan as a chair of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief EWG. Minister Nakatani explained that legal foundation for the Self-Defense Forces to further contribute to the peace and stability of the international community was established through the enforcement of the Legislation for Peace and Security in March this year. Minister Parrikar expressed his support to such efforts by Japan.
The Ministers welcomed the signing of the bilateral Memorandum on Defence Co-operation and Exchanges between the two Defence Ministries, in September 2014, and the conclusion of Agreement concerning Transfer of Defence Equipment & Technology and Agreement Concerning Security Measures for the Protection of Classified Military Information during India-Japan summit meeting in December 2015. They expressed satisfaction at strengthening the foundation for bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges. At the same time, the Ministers underlined their intention to explore more concrete and effective cooperation and decided to prom ote cooperation and exchanges in the following areas:
(1) High-level and Working-level Exchanges
Acknowledging that high level exchanges, including those at Minister and Chief of Staff level provide impetus to bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges, the Ministers decided to continue active high level exchanges. From this standpoint, they agreed to conduct the following:
a. Annual Defence Ministerial Meeting. The Defence Minister of India will visit Japan in 2017.
b. Welcoming the visit by the Chief of Army Staff, Indian Army to Japan in 2015 and the visit by the Chief of Maritime Self-Defense Force to India in 2016, both sides will work towards realizing the visit of Chief of Naval Staff, Indian Navy to Japan in 2016 and the visit of Chief of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force to India in early 2017.
c. Early meeting of the 5th Defence Vice Minister/Secretary level Defence Policy Dialogue and the 4th Vice Minister/Secretary level “2+2” dialogue.
d. Explore the setting up of a Maritime Strategic Dialogue between the two Defence Ministries.
(2) Exchanges between Indian Army and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
The Ministers welcomed the steady progress in the exchanges between Indian Army and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) based on their capability and experience in the field of Counter-Terrorism, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief. As part of ongoing exchanges, Indian Army and JGSDF will hold staff talks in Tokyo in 2016. JGSDF will also send officers to India’s Counter-Insurgency Jungle Warfare School (CIJW) as part of experts-level exchange in the field of counter-terrorism. Minister Nakatani expressed his intention to seek future opportunities to invite observers from Indian Army to participate in HA/DR-related exercises conducted by JGSDF.
(3) Exchanges between Indian Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
The Ministers expressed their satisfaction at close linkages between the Indian Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). They noted enhanced cooperation in maritime security including through reciprocal participation in international fleet reviews held in Japan and India in October 2015 and February 2016 respectively. Minister Nakatani expressed his appreciation for India’s decision for the participation of JMSDF in India-US Malabar Exercises on a regular basis. The Ministers welcomed the successful Malabar exercise, held in June 2016 off the Japanese coast and decided to conduct India-US-Japan Trilateral Joint Maritime Exercise Malabar in 2017. The Ministers also agreed to explore the possibility for JMSDF and Indian Navy to conduct a joint bilateral exercise.
(4) Exchanges between Indian Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force
The Ministers noted the growing exchanges between Indian Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) including in the areas of flight safety, test pilots, transport aircraft units, etc. They also welcomed the holding of the inaugural Air staff talks in February 2016. The Ministers expressed their intention to work towards further strengthening of air-to-air component exchanges, especially visits by their aircraft to each other’s air bases. In addition, Minister Nakatani expressed his intention to seek future opportunities to invite the Indian Air Force to participate in HA/DR-related exercises in which JASDF would also take part.
(5) Education and academic exchanges
The Ministers noted with satisfaction the growing exchanges between the two sides in the area of professional training and development through exchanges of students and researchers for courses, including at respective staff colleges. They also noted the exchanges between Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping o f India and the Japan Peacekeeping Training and Research Centre.
(6) Cooperation in Defence Equipment and Technology
The Ministers welcomed the conclusion of agreements in this regard and reaffirmed their commitment to continue discussions to deepen the bilateral defence relationship including through technology cooperation and co-development. They agreed to hold the second round of the Joint Working Group on Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation (DETC) between Department of Defence Production (DDP), Ministry of Defence, India and Acquisition, Technology and Logistical Agency (ATLA) of Ministry of Defense of Japan as early as possible in 2016 to identify specific items and areas for cooperation. The Ministers commended the effort made by both countries regarding the cooperation on US-2 amphibious aircraft which was launched in 2013.
Minister Nakatani thanked Minister Parrikar for the gracious welcome and hospitality extended to him and members of the Japanese delegation during his visit to India.