With the United Nations deciding to begin inter-governmental negotiations on Security Council reforms, the ‘Group of Four' comprising India, Japan, Germany and Brazil has decided to revive its plans for moving ahead in unison.
After high-level talks with Japan here on Tuesday, India agreed to hold a meeting of the G-4 Foreign Ministers along with special invitee South Africa on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York in September this year. “We have the framework of this cooperation already. We compared notes and exchanged views on how to proceed with this matter… There were lots of discussions on how to move ahead,” the officials said.
The Indian side to the 2+2 talks was led by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, while Japan was represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Kenichiro Sasae and Vice-Defence Minister Kimito Nakae. Later, the two sides held Foreign Office Consultations. Security and strategic cooperation and exchange of notes on the regional situation were the main topics of discussions at the two meetings. Talks on the regional situation covered Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Myanmar also.
Officials pointed out that this was the first time India held talks in the 2+2 format (Foreign and Defence Secretaries from both sides), while for Japan this was the third such instance. “Japan has it only with very special countries like the U.S. and Australia who are both allies. Obviously the signal from the Japanese side is to increase the level of security dialogue,” observed an official.
“Having a meeting in this format is new and is the first one after the two Prime Ministers adopted the Action Plan [on security cooperation] in December last year. This enabled a detailed review of the security environment and positive discussions on all elements of the Action Plan,” said other sources.
The two sides also decided to step up maritime cooperation by expanding the joint exercises to include the navies from both countries and stepping up cooperation in anti-piracy operations off the Gulf of Aden. With piracy having spread to the high seas, both sides held discussions on further coordinating the movement of their warships.
Having held the first round of civil nuclear dialogue only last month, Ms. Rao expressed her appreciation to Japan for having taken the initiative despite local opposition. Days after the talks, the Mayors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima met Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and protested against the opening of civil nuclear negotiations with India.
India invited Mr. Okada to visit the country and officials expect the forthcoming interaction to lead to an annual summit in the last quarter of the year.