India, Japan Reaffirm Strong Maritime Ties – MarineLink

India and Japan have discussed a specialized 24-nation maritime construct to enable real-time sharing of data of all shipping including merchant and naval warships, operating in the Indian Ocean, parts of the Pacific Ocean and disputed waters of the South China Sea. Indian Defence minister Manohar Parrikar called on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Monday, his first overseas trip since being appointed in November. Parrikar also met his counterpart Gen Nakatani as part of the 29 March-1 April visit.

A strong India-Japan partnership is not only in the national interest of the two countries but is also important for peace and security in the region, defence ministry said in a statement, citing Abe. Parrikar said he would like to see a strong partnership with Japan in defence equipment and technology, according to the statement. The statement said Parrikar and Nakatani briefed each other on the security environment surrounding each country and their respective defence policies. “They reviewed strategic developments relating to international security situation with emphasis on the inter-connected Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.

The 24- nation construct is a path-breaking grouping of countries, including some neighbours of China, to share all maritime shipping data to ensure that all vessels at sea are accounted for. This will include all vessels at sea, including warships , sources said. While the exchange of data would deal primarily with merchant shipping, both India and Japan remain worried about China’s expanding trans-border military capabilities as well as its assertive behaviour in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in the contentious South and East China Seas where it is embroiled in territorial disputes with its neighbours.

India is looking to buy from Japan specialized amphibian plane and also Japanese-built diesel-electric Soryu class submarines. Both the countries agreed to speed up talks on exports of the US-2 rescue flying boat of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (SDF) to India. Nakatani said Japan plans to let the SDF join US-India joint naval drills again this year.

In September, Japan and India pledged to upgrade their security relationship to uphold maritime security and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

India also invited Japan last July to participate for the first time in annual naval exercises with the US in the Pacific Ocean.