The first meeting of the India-Japan Space dialogue is scheduled to take place in March 2019, where the space agencies of the two countries Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will focus on Surveillance and Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) of the waters in the East China Sea, the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.
The first meeting of the India-Japan Space dialogue is scheduled to take place in March 2019, where the space agencies of the two countries Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will focus on Surveillance and Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) of the waters in the East China Sea, the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. The Japan-India Space Dialogue was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Oct this year at the end of the annual summit of both countries.
Presently, both India and Japan have their own systems for monitoring satellite images and ship movements in the oceans, as the information is critical for national security as well as coastal security of the two countries.
According to Dr Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Head, Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative, Observer Research Foundation, “The space dialogue and the broader strategic partnership between New Delhi and Tokyo are driven by the rising China factor and the strategic consequences of China’s rise. The Asian geopolitical competition characterised by the simultaneous rise of three Asian powers is a strong imperative for the deepening partnership between the Indian and Japanese space agencies.
“Neither India nor Japan has been able to match or compete with China’s growing military prowess including in outer space. India and Japan through their cooperative efforts would possibly have a better chance of effecting some changes in the emerging Asian space security dynamics. Surveillance and Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) of the waters in the East China Sea, the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean will likely remain focus areas in the bilateral space collaboration,” added Rajagopalan, Distinguished Fellow, ORF.
India and Japan have plans for the Moon mission, where China is already making impressive strides. “The emerging Asian security dynamics will push India and Japan to higher levels of cooperation in the coming years,” she opined.
Both ISRO and JAXA have had the second Joint Working Group meeting in Sept 2018 to discuss cooperation areas and acknowledged the importance of monitoring the importance of the Outer Space and oceans.
According to the Fact Sheet released at the end of the annual summit between the two countries this year, last year both ISRO and JAXA had inked the Implementation Arrangement (IA) concerning Pre-Phase A Study and Phase A Study of Joint Lunar Polar Exploration Mission. The two have already completed the feasibility study earlier this year in March.
India is dependent on the US satellite imagery for the movement of Chinese troops along its borders and with this new Space dialogue between the two countries, India is looking at others to gather information.
Most of the countries including Japan have inked the white shipping information exchange agreements with India, around 21 are Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) partners. The Indian Navy is mandated to conclude White Shipping Information Exchange agreements with 36 countries and three multinational constructs.
As reported earlier, the IOR accounts for 66 % of the world’s oil, 33 per cent of bulk cargo and 50 percent of container shipments with over 100,000 ships transiting through it annually. With over 75% of the world’s maritime trade and 50% of daily global oil consumption passing through the region; IOR is vital to world trade and the economic prosperity of many nations.
At the Space Dialogue, India will be represented by the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Defence and ISRO officials, and the Japanese side will be led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and officials from JAXA and other ministries. All will also discuss space debris and how to remove the debris which is orbiting the Earth.