Diplomacy

India-Japan defence, foreign ministers for South China Sea navigation freedom

Photo: India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar (right) greeting Japan’s Minister of Defence Taro Kono and Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi before their 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi today.

Snapshot

  • India, Japan to hold first joint fighter aircraft exercise in Japan between their air forces
  • Japan to post an officer at India’s Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region
  • India, Japan to work jointly on Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) and Robotics

New Delhi: India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar today met Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, and Minister of Defense Taro Kono here for the first 2+2 ministerial meeting, when they reaffirmed their commitment to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, in what’s seen as a clear joint message to neighbour China.

Here is the text of the Joint Statement issued following the meeting between the two ministers:

The ministers affirmed that this dialogue will further enhance the strategic depth of bilateral security and defence cooperation. Acknowledging emerging security challenges, the ministers reiterated their commitment to advancing bilateral security cooperation based on the 2008 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation and the 2009 Action Plan to Advance Security Cooperation. Recalling that the two sides had a shared vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region in which the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity are ensured, and all countries enjoy freedom of navigation and overflight, the ministers emphasised that further strengthening of bilateral cooperation was in mutual interest of both countries and would also help in furthering the cause of the peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

Photo: India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar and Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh (right) greeting Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi and Minister of Defence Taro Kono before their 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi today.

Bilateral Cooperation

The ministers welcomed the progress made in deepening bilateral defence cooperation last year. The ministers noted with satisfaction that since last year India and Japan have initiated bilateral exercises between all three components of their defence forces. The ministers shared the view to make continuous efforts for holding the bilateral exercises between the defence forces regularly and further expanding the same. In this regard, the ministers welcomed the recently conducted second ‘Dharma Guardian-2019‘ and the second ‘SHINYUU Maitri-2019’. The ministers also concurred to proceed with coordination for the first India-Japan joint fighter aircraft exercise in Japan.

The ministers welcomed the significant progress made in the negotiations of Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) since the announcement to commence the negotiations in Oct. 2018. The ministers expressed their desire for early conclusion of the negotiations and were of the view that the agreement will further contribute to enhancing defence cooperation between the two sides.

Acknowledging the importance of ensuring maritime safety in achieving a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific, the ministers expressed their intention to further promote cooperation in the field of capacity building in maritime security and Maritime Domain Awareness including through cooperation with other countries. In this context, the ministers welcomed the setting up of Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) by India in Dec. 2018. The Indian side looked forward to Japanese side dispatching a liaison officer at the IFC-IOR in the near future. The ministers noted with satisfaction the commencement of exchange of information based on the Implementing Arrangement for Deeper Cooperation between the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy signed last year.

The ministers emphasised the need to further strengthen the defence equipment and technology cooperation and looked forward to productive discussions in the fifth Joint Working Group on Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation (JWG-DETC). In this context, the ministers welcomed the progress on cooperative research in the area of Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) and Robotics.

The ministers appreciated the existing exchange programs between the defence educational and research institutions of the two countries and expressed their desire to continue and expand the exchange programmes.

Multilateral Cooperation

Recalling the Japan-India-US Summit Meetings in Nov. 2018 and Jun. 2019, the ministers acknowledged the trilateral cooperation with the US. The ministers expressed their satisfaction at trilateral cooperation represented by the ‘MALABAR 2019‘ held in Sep.-Oct 2019 off the coast of Japan, mine-countermeasures exercise (MINEX) held in Japan in Jul. 2019 and ‘Cope India 2018‘ in which Japan participated as an observer in Dec. 2018.

The ministers welcomed the recent Japan-India-Australia-US Foreign Ministerial Consultations in New York in Sep. 2019.

Photo: India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar leading the Indian delegation at their 2+2 meeting with Japan’s Minister of Defence of Japan Taro Kono and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan Toshimitsu Motegi in New Delhi today. India”s Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar and Secretary (Defence Production) Subhash Chandra are also present.

Regional and International Affairs

The ministers had a frank and fruitful exchange of views on the regional issues of mutual interests particularly on the security situation in the Indo-Pacific.

The ministers reaffirmed the importance of supporting ASEAN centrality and unity for promoting peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific. The ministers welcomed the adoption of ‘ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP)’ during the 34th ASEAN Summit in Thailand in Jun. 2019. The ministers expressed their commitment to working together with ASEAN for achieving their shared objectives. The ministers also reiterated their support for ASEAN-led frameworks such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus).

The Japanese side appreciated India’s announcement of ‘Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative‘ at the recent 14th EAS to create a safe, secure, stable, prosperous and sustainable maritime domain and confirmed their willingness to discuss concrete cooperation based on the Initiative. The ministers noted with satisfaction that India and Japan’s initiatives for realising a free and open Indo-Pacific, including the recent ‘Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative’ and AOIP all strive for an Indo-Pacific region that is inclusive and open to all countries in the region. The Indian side welcomed Japan’s ‘Vientiane Vision 2.0‘ in Nov. 2019 as an updated initiative for defence cooperation between Japan and ASEAN.

The ministers reaffirmed the importance of realising North Korea’s complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) and expressed their commitment to the full implementation of the relevant UNSCRs. The ministers condemned North Korea’s recent launches of ballistic missiles which are clear violation of the relevant UNSCRs. The ministers strongly urged North Korea to resolve the abductions issue at the earliest date.

Photo: India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar with Japan’s Minister of Defence of Japan Taro Kono and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan Toshimitsu Motegi at their 2+2 meeting in New Delhi today.

The ministers exchanged views on the recent developments in the South China Sea keeping in view also the Chairman’s Statement of the 14th EAS. In this context, the Ministers reaffirmed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce and peaceful resolution of disputes with full respect for legal and diplomatic processes in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, including those reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The ministers also took note of the negotiations of a Code of Conduct (COC) and urged that it should be effective, substantive, and consistent with international law, including the UNCLOS, ensure freedom of navigation and must not prejudice the rights and interests of the stakeholders using the South China Sea and freedoms of all states under international law.

The ministers condemned in the strongest terms the growing threat of terrorism and acknowledged that it constituted a major threat to peace and security in the region. The ministers called upon all countries take resolute action in rooting out terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and eliminating financing channels and halting cross-border movement of terrorists. The ministers underlined the need for all countries to ensure that all territory under their control is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries in any manner. They noted in this context the threat posed to regional security by terrorist networks operating out of Pakistan and called upon it to take resolute and irreversible action against them and fully comply with international commitments including to Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The ministers emphasised the need for stronger international partnership in countering terrorism and violent extremism, including through increased sharing of information and intelligence.

The ministers shared recognition on the importance of continuing exchange of opinions in light of the success of this 2+2 Ministerial Meeting, and decided to hold the next 2+2 Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo.

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