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Boost to Indo-Japan defence ties

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade. (Reuters)

New Delhi, Jan. 6: India and Japan today drew up a programme of increased friendly military exchanges as Japan’s defence minister Itsunori Onodera briefed Indian counterpart A.K. Antony on his country’s new security strategies at a time of tensions with China.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit India later this month. He will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade, government officials confirmed today.

“The two ministers extensively and frankly exchanged ideas regarding regional and global security challenges, as well as bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges between India and Japan. They shared views on issues relating to peace, stability and prosperity of the region,” defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.

The intensive programme of military exchanges between India and Japan coincide with regional tensions between Japan and China, chiefly over the territorial claims over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. In November, China unilaterally announced an Air Defence Identification Zone that covers airspace over the disputed islands off which Japanese and Chinese boats have been facing-off.

The defence ministry spokesperson said the ministers “shared views on the necessity to conduct high-level and working-level regular consultations and exchanges” and “strengthen India-Japan defence consultation and cooperation, including those related to maritime security to further consolidate and strengthen the strategic and global partnership between Japan and India”.