Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh held talks with Japanese State Minister Yasukazu Hamada ahead of the ‘two-plus-two’ talks between the defense and foreign ministers of the two countries in Tokyo on Thursday. In the talks, both countries said they would strengthen mutual defense cooperation. Al-Jazeera news.
In the discussion, the ministers-state ministers of India and Japan also informed about the plan of joint military exercises with the air forces of both countries. Delhi also invited investment from Japanese industries.
India’s Ministry of Defense quoted Singh as saying in a statement, ‘He invited Japanese industry to invest in India’s defense corridor. The two ministers agreed that the initial holding of the inaugural fighter exercise would pave the way for greater cooperation and interoperability between the air forces of the two countries.’
Like Japan, India sees neighboring China as a growing security threat. India is increasing its military power to counter China.
In Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged to increase defense spending. His ruling Liberal Democratic Party has announced plans to double Japan’s military budget to 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) over the next five years, fearing that China may launch an aggression against Taiwan similar to the Russia-Ukraine aggression.
Delhi launched its first-ever aircraft carrier last week. Delhi is now increasing its security ties with Tokyo to counter China.
At the start of the two-plus-two meeting, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi emphasized the growing importance of relations between the two countries as the international community faces various challenges.
“If you look at the international community, unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the East and South China Seas continue, let alone Russia’s aggression in Ukraine,” Hayashi said.
China claims most of the waters of the South China Sea. There they set up military outposts on artificial islands. Beijing also claims ownership of uninhabited Japanese-administered islands in the East China Sea.
The Quad, a joint alliance between Australia and the United States, Japan and India, conducts annual naval exercises across the Indo-Pacific region to demonstrate their interoperability.
The Taiwan issue dominated the top leaders’ discussions at the latest Quad summit held in Japan last May. The day before the conference, US President Joe Biden provoked China, saying he was willing to use force to protect the democratic island.
On the day of their conference, Russian and Chinese warplanes conducted joint patrols in the region.
Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to work together to promote a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ in a separate bilateral meeting.