Act East Policy: India-Japan hold the first-ever 2+2 Dialogue with focus on free and open Indo-Pacific Region

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Published: November 30, 2019 7:53:36 PM

Today’s 2+2 Dialogue is also significant as without India on board the Japanese government has decided against ratifying the China-backed RCEP regional trade pact.

Minster of Defence of Japan, Mr. Kono Taro onboard a Su-30 MKI aircraft during his visit to Air Force Station Hindan today.Minster of Defence of Japan, Mr. Kono Taro onboard a Su-30 MKI aircraft during his visit to Air Force Station Hindan today.

India and Japan held their first ever 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi and the focus of talks was on building up on maritime security, free and open Indo-Pacific Region. This dialogue is a major step towards establishing closer ties between the two countries. Japan is the second country after the US with which India has such a dialogue format.

As has been reported the idea of holding such a dialogue was initiated during the summit meeting between Modi and Abe in Tokyo at the Indo-Japanese Annual Summit in October 2018. And these talks in New Delhi come ahead of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit on December 15, for the annual summit to be held in Guwhati, Assam.

Before the official 2+2 Dialogue, the two Japanese ministers Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defence Minister Taro Kono met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.

At the 2+2 talks, the visiting ministers in their discussions with their Indian counterparts defence minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S Jaishankar exchanged views on the situation in the Indo-Pacific region. And also reviewed the efforts being made under India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and Japan’s ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision’ for achieving their shared objective of peace, and prosperity. This format of Dialogue provided both sides to work towards strengthening defence and security cooperation and to enhance the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership.

The two countries have other forms of dialogues to deepen security cooperation between the two countries including the Annual Defense Ministerial Dialogue, Defense Policy Dialogue and the National Security Advisers’ Dialogue.

On Saturday, the two sides also talked about expediting the negotiations for the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing agreement (ACSA), under which the two sides can share their defence supplies including fuel and ammunition. Also, while the Japanese will get access to the Indian facilities in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India on the other hand will get an access to the Japanese naval facilities in Djibouti. The two sides are keen that this agreement should be ready to be inked in the presence of the Japanese leader at the annual summit next month.

Today’s 2+2 Dialogue is also significant as without India on board the Japanese government has decided against ratifying the China-backed RCEP regional trade pact. It may be recalled that India had decided to withdraw from the RCEP after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the deal was not beneficial for India’s interests.

Reportedly, the Japanese policymakers have indicated that Tokyo will try persuading India to join the RCEP as besides the political, and economic benefits, there are security benefits too .

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