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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Modi-Abe likely to discuss expansion of security cooperation

Thursday, 14 September 2017 12:08
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New Delhi, September 13: India and Japan are likely to further expand the ambit of their security cooperation, which may include larger engagement between Japanese firms and research entities with Indian defence manufacturers and R&D institutions.

Security ties may figure in the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, who landed in Ahmedabad on Wednesday for the 12th annual summit between the two countries.

The bilateral discussions come weeks after North Korea claims to have tested a Hydrogen bomb and a 74-day stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the Himalayas kept the world on the tenterhooks.

Earlier this month, the defence ministers of India and China condemned the North Korean acts in the strongest terms.

The two defence ministers also worked out the framework for a larger hand-shake in defence as New Delhi and Tokyo strive to forge a partnership against Chinese muscle flexing in the Indian Ocean region.

Last year, China had reacted angrily to reports that Japan plans to sell weapons to India at cheaper prices, saying that such a move is disgraceful.

Several rounds of discussions happened between Acquisition, Technology and Logistic Agency (ATLA) of Japan and Defence Research and Development Organisation with the two sides agreeing to join hands in the areas of Unmanned Ground Vehicles and Robotics.

Moreover, ATLA had one round of talks with the Department of Defence Production under the Defence Ministry to explore the avenues for Japan's famed heavy engineering giants to enter the evolving defence manufacturing sector in India.

There are indications that the joint statement by the two countries after the summit meeting will have certain components relating to defence cooperation.

When asked a Ministry of External Affairs official declined to comment on the specifics but maintained that defence was an area of priority.

The future cooperation may be more in the joint defence research and manufacturing activities as recent policy reforms in the Indian defence sector, offer opportunities for foreign industries to play an active role.

There is still no clarity on whether the proposed sale of US-2 ShinMaywa amphibious aircraft would figure in the discussions between the two leaders.

Japan had offered to sell 12 of these aircraft to India for better monitoring its exclusive economic zone even though the Defence Ministry is yet to issue an Acceptance of Necessity for the aircraft.

However, the joint statement issued after the September 6 meeting of the two defence ministers mentioned the US-2 amphibious aircraft as one of the subjects discussed between them.

In a departure from the standard practice, Prime Minister Abe will bypass Delhi this time as he cut short his original travel schedule by a day.

The visiting Prime Minister his wife Aki Abe received a rousing welcome in Ahmedabad – the home state of Prime Minister Modi. This is the tenth meeting between the two leaders in the last three years. (Courtesy: DH)

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