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India, Japan agree to further strengthen Indo-Pacific cooperation

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India] | September 14, 2017 12:01:13 AM IST
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe agreed to broaden their strategic and defence partnership by strengthening cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and having regular engagement through the medium of the annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue.

Both also said that the Malabar trilateral naval exercise will deepen cooperation between India, Japan and the U.S.

That Japan has agreed to provide its state-of-the-art U.S.-2 amphibian aircraft to India shows the high degree of trust between the two countries.

Both the leaders agreed to "explore cooperation and exchanges between our Army and Ground Self defence force and Air Force and Japan's Air Defence Force."

Hailing the expansion in scale and complexity of the MALABAR-exercise in the Bay of Bengal in July 2017 maritime security cooperation, the two Prime Ministers commended the significant progress achieved in maritime security cooperation and stressed "for a close cooperation between the Japan Maritime Self Defence Forces and the Indian Navy in various specialised areas of mutual interest , including anti-submarine aspects.

"India, Japan and the United States conducted a Malabar trilateral naval exercise. This was based on strong ties of trust between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump," Abe said.

Prime Minister Abe added, "It will further deepen the cooperation between India, Japan and the U.S."

Underlining the importance of maritime security, "Both the leaders pledged to enhance Japan-India-US trilateral cooperation for Malabar trilateral naval exercise and to enhance exchanges in expanding maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific region,"the Indo-Japan joint statement added.

The two Prime Ministers welcomed the recently held annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue and the first Defence Industry Forum in Tokyo on 5 September.

"Both the leaders welcomed the regular and institutionalised engagement through the annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue, the National Security Advisers' dialogue, the 2+2 Dialogue, the Defence Policy Dialogue and Service to Service staff talks".

Acknowledging the need to expand joint exercises and cooperation in areas like humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA?DR), peacekeeping operations (PKOs), counter terrorism, including the possibility of joint field exercises between Indian Army and Japan's Ground Self-Defence Forces in 2018, and reciprocal visits by air assets to each other's country.

"The range of special strategic and global partnership is not just limited to the bilateral and regional sphere. We have close cooperation on global issues as well,"PM Narendra Modi said while addressing a joint press conference with his Japanese counterpart said that ties between both countries are not limited to bilateral or regional spheres.(ANI)

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