Tokyo: India’s Rajnath Singh co-chaired the Japan-India Defence Ministerial Meeting with his Japanese counterpart Takeshi lwaya here today. During the dialogue, the two ministers discussed various issues of mutual concern, including ways to further strengthen the existing bilateral co-operative arrangements and adopt new initiatives towards achieving peace and security in the region.
The lndo-Pacific vision was discussed at length with an expression of India’s preference for a rules-based order along with centrality of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and inclusiveness and security for all.
The importance of the ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ between India and Japan in addressing regional peace, security and stability was also highlighted. Furthermore, the two Ministers had free and frank discussion on the emerging regional security scenario.
The Indian defence minister also discussed abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India that had previously granted special status to the then Jammu and Kashmir state and said talks and cross-border terrorism originating from Pakistan cannot go together.
In a tweet later, Rajnath Singh said: “Had an extremely fruitful Ministerial Level Dialogue with Japan’s Defence Minister, Mr Takeshi Iwaya in Tokyo. We discussed the full spectrum of India-Japan defence cooperation. We will continue working together to further deepen the defence ties between both the nations.”
Later, Rajnath Singh called on Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. During the meeting, the Indian minister praised the exceptional relationship between Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. The Indian minister apprised the Japanese prime minister on the contents of the discussion at the Defence Ministerial Dialogue.
Rajnath Singh also conveyed to the Prime Minister of Japan that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and abrogation of Article 370 benefits the people of the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. He also said Pakistan has no locus standi in Jammu and Kashmir.
There was a general understanding that more co-operation should be realised in defence equipment and technology. Prime minister Abe requested defence minister Singh to convey his regards to Modi, whom he expects to meet on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York later this month.
Rajnath Singh later tweeted: “The meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan Mr Shinzo Abe was excellent. India attaches the highest priority to our bilateral relationship with Japan. I conveyed to him the Government of India’s commitment to further enhance the defence engagements between both the countries.”
Earlier, Rajnath Singh paid homage to the martyrs of Japanese Self-Defense Forces at Ichigaya here. He also inspected the Guard of Honour at Ministry of Defence Headquarters, Japan.
India has shown keen interest in the Japanese ShinMaywa Industries Limited‘s US-2 amphibious aircraft for use by its navy and coast guard to improve links to the remote corners of the island territories in Andaman and Nicobar, as well as in Lakshadweep and Minicoy. However, discussions in this regard over the last decade has not yielded any results.