Japan–India Defense Cooperation and Exchanges

Q1 What is the significance of the defense cooperation and exchanges with India?

A1.India is located in the center of sea lanes which connect Japan with the Middle East and Africa, making it an extremely important country in a geopolitical sense for Japan which relies on maritime transportation for most of its trade. Furthermore, Japan and India share fundamental values, as well as having a common interest in the peace, stability, and prosperity of Asia and the world, and have constructed a strategic global partnership. Therefore, in recent years both Japan and India have been strengthening relations in security areas.

Q2 What is the history of defense cooperation and exchanges with India?

Then Minister of Defense Ichikawa and Indian Defense Minister Antony inspecting the troops
Then Minister of Defense Ichikawa and Indian Defense Minister Antony inspecting the troops

A2.In October 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India visited Japan and the two Prime Ministers signed the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation between Japan and India, coming after similar declarations with the United States and Australia. India is, thereby, the third country with whom Japan has signed a joint declaration on security. This Joint Declaration specifies that the two defense authorities promote cooperation by way of, for example, meetings between the Defense Ministers, meetings between the Vice-Minister of Defense of Japan and the Defense Secretary of India including Defense Policy Dialogue, military-tomilitary talks at the Director General/Joint Secretary-level, and service-to-service exchanges including bilateral and multilateral exercises. The declaration serves as a guideline for cooperation in security areas between Japan and India.

Moreover, in December 2009, the then Prime Minister Hatoyama visited India. Together with Indian Prime Minister Singh, he formulated the Action Plan to promote security cooperation between Japan and India. The Action Plan includes items for the actual promotion of cooperation in maritime security such as anti-piracy activities and the holding of joint exercises at the sea.

Furthermore, when the then Prime Minister Noda visited India in December 2011, the two countries, whose diplomatic relations mark the 60th anniversary in 2012, agreed to further efforts to reinforce the Strategic Global Partnership as well as strengthening cooperation in the field of maritime security, in regard to the political and security-related aspects. These outcomes were issued as the Japan–India Joint Statement.

Q3 Tell us about the Japan–India Vice-Ministerial “2+2” Dialogue and the Japan–India Defense Policy Dialogue that were held on October 22.

A3.The second Japan–India Vice-Ministerial “2+2” Dialogue was held in Tokyo between Administrative Vice-Minister of Defense Kanazawa, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Saiki, Defence Secretary of India Sharma and Foreign Secretary of India Mathai.

In the consultation, they discussed the security environment surrounding Japan and India, as well as the security policies and cooperation in security areas between the two nations, and concurred on further strengthening cooperation/coordination between the two nations, centering on the field of security such as in the Anti-piracy measures off the coasts of Somalia and in Asia.

Following this consultation, the Third Japan–India Defense Policy Dialogue was held between Administrative Vice-Minister of Defense Kanazawa and Defense Secretary of India Sharma.

In the consultations, the two sides discussed the defense cooperation and exchange between Japan and India, and an accord was reached for further strengthening of relationships between the defense authorities, which includes the stable continuation of high-level exchanges. Also, both sides had highly regarded the bilateral exercise that was conducted between the MSDF and the Indian Navy in June 2012, and came to an accord on the importance of cooperation in maritime security areas.

Vessels of both nations cruising side-by-side during exercise
Vessels of both nations cruising side-by-side during exercise
Departing port scene
Departing port scene

Q4 Tell us about any other accomplishments.

A4.As part of our major recent accomplishments, in November 2011, Indian Defense Minister Antony visited Japan and held talks with the Japanese Minister of Defense. At these talks, as well as exchanging opinions concerning the regional security situation, the two ministers were in accord that the cooperative relationship between Japan and India in the field of maritime security is important, and noted that defense cooperation between the two countries is progressing steadily, through such developments as agree-ments concerning reciprocal visits by the MSDF and the Indian Navy, the first bilateral exercise involving Japan and India, and reciprocal visits between the GSDF and the Indian Army by troops in relation to education and training concerning international peace cooperation activities.

In June, 2012, the first bilateral exercise was carried out between the MSDF and the Indian Navy off the coast of the Sagami Gulf based on the joint statement.

Q5 It has been said that the MSDF and the Indian Navy conducted their first ever bilateral exercise in June 2012. Can you tell us of the details?

A5.On June 5, Indian Navy vessels paid a goodwill visit to Japan. They sailed on June 9, 2012 to participate in the first bilateral exercise between the Japanese and Indian forces. This exercise was aimed at improving the tactical combat skills of the MSDF, and at promoting defense cooperation and exchange with the Indian Navy. The training was conducted off the Sagami Bay, and the participating military forces comprised two destroyers (“JS Hatakaze” and “JS Oonami”), and one aircraft (amphibious search and rescue plane US-2) from the MSDF as well as one destroyer (INS RANA D52), one fleet tanker (INS SHAKTI A57), one frigate (INS SHIVALIK F47), and one corvette (INS KARMUK P64) from the Indian Navy.

This exercise was conducted based on an agreement concluded at the Japan–India Defense Ministerial Meeting held in November, 2011. Although Japan has conducted goodwill training with India to date, this is the first time that bilateral exercise with India was conducted with the aim of enhancing tactical combat skills. The menu included not only basic training that has been conducted previously, such as tactical maneuver and communications training, but also, search and rescue training by the MSDF vessels and aircraft together with the Indian Navy vessels which was conducted as part of new content in order to improve tactical skills of both participating troops as well as to strengthen their collaboration.

Fleet tanker (INS SHAKTI A57)
Fleet tanker (INS SHAKTI A57)
Corvette (INS KARMUK P64)
Corvette (INS KARMUK P64)
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