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India, Japan pursuing special strategic partnership which is very important for free, open, rule-based Indo-Pacific: Rajnath
Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that India and Japan are pursuing a Special Strategic and Global Partnership which is very important for a free, open, rule-based and inclusive Indo-Pacific based upon sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, as China flexes its military muscle in the region.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that India and Japan are pursuing a Special Strategic and Global Partnership which is very important for a free, open, rule-based and inclusive Indo-Pacific based upon sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, as China flexes its military muscle in the region.
Singh, who attended the 2+2 Dialogue alongwith External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in Tokyo and their counterparts from Japan, said the two sides had an opportunity to share views on important issues, regional and global, and concurred on the need for peaceful resolution of disputes in consonance with international law.
''As two thriving democracies in Asia, we are pursuing a Special Strategic and Global Partnership," Singh said while addressing the India-Japan 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue which was attended by Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada and Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.
Singh said India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) shares many commonalities with Japan's Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).
''There is consensus on both sides that a strong India-Japan relationship is very important for a free, open, rule-based and inclusive Indo-Pacific based upon sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations,'' he said.
India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvring in the region.
The armies of India and China are still engaged in a prolonged standoff at eastern Ladakh.
The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.
So far, the two sides held 16 rounds of Corps Commander Level talks to resolve the prolonged standoff.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.
In his address, Singh said India has also developed maritime cooperation with regional partners in consonance with its inclusive vision of security and growth for all in the region.
''We held extensive discussions on ways to enhance maritime cooperation including Maritime Domain Awareness,'' he said.
He said India's relationship with ASEAN has emerged as a key cornerstone of its foreign policy.
''Through ADMM Plus, both India and Japan are working together with ASEAN and other Plus countries for strengthening cooperation across domains," he said.
He also invited the Japanese defence companies to look at opportunities in investing in the Indian defence corridors.
He said enhancing the defence equipment and technological cooperation between India and Japan is one of the key priority areas and proposed engagements in emerging and critical technological domains.
Singh said the participation of Japan for the first time in the multilateral exercise MILAN and operationalisation of the Reciprocal Provision of Supply and Services Agreement in March this year are milestones in the progress of defence cooperation between two forces.
''We are happy to note that our air forces are working closely for early conduct of the inaugural Air Force fighter exercise," he said.
''During today's discussions, we noted the progress in the military-to-military cooperation and exchanges between the two sides. We shared a common desire to further increase the scope and complexities of our bilateral exercises," he said.
This year is significant for both India and Japan, as the two sides are celebrating 70 years of establishment of their diplomatic relations.
''This is an important relationship for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region," Singh said.
During the course of discussions, the two sides covered a wide spectrum of bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest, he said.
He thanked Ministers Hayashi and Hamada for the extremely productive discussions and for expressing their commitment towards furthering the India-Japan partnership.
The '2+2' Dialogue is taking place more than five months after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited India for the annual India-Japan summit.