Stage set for first-ever two-plus-two ministerial dialogue between Indian and Japan; here’s the agenda

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Published: November 27, 2019 5:50:04 PM

Both countries already had 2+2 dialogue at the level of foreign and defence secretaries which had started in 2010 which discussed issues related to maritime security, cyber and Outer Space.

Maritime Domain Awareness, military trade, India-Japan 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, india japan ties, South China Sea, Pacific Ocean, Korean Peninsula, S JaishankarJapan becomes the second country with whom India has 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. (File photo: PTI)

Maritime Domain Awareness, military trade, and further cooperation towards peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region are some of the critical issues on the agenda of the first-ever India-Japan 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this week. The two sides are expected to discuss the stability of the India and the Pacific Ocean as well as the developments in the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula.

Both countries already had 2+2 dialogue at the level of foreign and defence secretaries which had started in 2010 which discussed issues related to maritime security, cyber and Outer Space.

Japan becomes the second country with whom India has 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. Both defence Minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S Jaishankar will meet their Japanese counterparts in New Delhi. The first round of India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue had taken place in New Delhi in September 2018 and both countries are getting ready for the second edition scheduled for next month to be held in Washington DC.

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The 2+2 India-Japan Ministerial Dialogue is coinciding with the annual summit between the two countries to be held mid-December, the dates have not officially been announced. Sources who wished to remain anonymous said that “The annual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan is expected to be held around December 18, in Guwhati, Assam.”

In a joint statement released at the end of summit-level talks in Tokyo in October 2018, both sides had expressed their desire to take defence and security cooperation to the next level. There are different mechanisms including the Annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue, Defence Policy Dialogue, and the National Security Advisers’ Dialogue in place. The idea for the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between the two countries was mooted during the talks in the last annual summit.

The defence forces along with the Coast Guards of both sides have been having joint drills on a regular basis. However, the defence trade between the two countries has not taken off as the amphibious aircraft US-2 has been put on a back burner.

While the leaders of India and Japan have reiterated their commitment to working together towards a free and open Indo-Pacific, the defence ministers are keen to increase their participation in multilateral exercises. So far, the two countries have participated in the Japan-India-US trilateral maritime exercise ‘Malabar 2019’, the second Japan-India-US trilateral mine-countermeasures exercise (MINEX) that was held in July.

India and Japan Armies have had their first-ever bilateral exercises — ‘Dharma Guardian’ and ‘Shinyuu Maitri’, in 2018 and last year, Japan was an observer for the first time at the India-US Air Force exercise ‘Cope India’.

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