Post Doklam, India and Japan agree to increase defence cooperation

India and Japan have agreed to increase defence cooperation, particularly in terms of providing mutual training as well as in sharing technology.

India’s outgoing defence minister Arun Jaitley reached several agreements with his Japanese counterpart in this matter, days after the country ended a tense border dispute with China that saw the northern neighbor make war threats.

The key areas of defence cooperation will be in the naval sphere.

First, Japan will send more advanced hardware to participate in the annual MALABAR naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal.

The intention is to “deepen and advance” the objectives of the exercise, the two countries said.

Japanese defence minister Onodera “expressed his intention to have state-of-the-art Japanese assets including P-1 to participate in the MALABAR 2018. Minister Jaitley welcomed this proposal.”

The countries will explore sharing techniques of anti-submarine warfare. They will also look at exchanging anti-submarine aviation units such as P-3C, the countries said.

Indian Navy personnel are likely to participate in mine-countermeasures training held by the Japanese naval forces.

Similar agreements have been reached for a tighter cooperation in the field of air defence and ground defence.

In air defence, India and Japan will “enable visits of their aircraft to each other’s air bases.” In ground defence, Indian army will send an observer delegation to participate in the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief exercise conducted by Japan.

On technology, the two countries will conduct technical discussions for research collaboration in the areas of Unmanned Ground Vehicles and Robotics. The discussions will be undertaken between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and its Japanese counterpart, the Acquisition, Technology and Logistic Agency.

For the first time ever, Japan’s chief of defence forces will visit India in the first half of 2018, the two countries said.

The moves have come in the context of increasing tension between India and its northern neighbor China in the wake of China’s more assertive policy on border disputes.

China has border disputes with most of its neighbors, including Japan.