India on Tuesday assured Japan that it “stands” by it to ensure freedom of navigation on the high seas, an assurance that comes in the backdrop of increasing conflicts in the Pacific involving China.

“There can be little doubt that countries like India and Japan must cooperate in ensuring the security of the global commons including freedom of navigation on the high seas that is critical to both our countries which import large amounts of oil and gas.

“Let me say clearly today that India stands with Japan, and other like-minded countries, in pursuing and implementing these goals and objectives,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said here.

Mr. Khurshid, who is here to jointly co-chair the seventh annual India-Japan Strategic Dialogue with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, was speaking at the Rikkyo University.

The Minister’s remarks came at a time when Japan is involved in territorial dispute of islands with China in the East China Sea. Incidentally, China is also involved in a maritime row with other countries like Vietnam and the Philippines in the South China Sea.

Mr. Khurshid said: “All this cooperation is not aimed at any other country but helps us to gain valuable knowledge and experience about the interoperability of our defence forces.”

On the issue of security cooperation, he said: “We have a bilateral Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation and an Action Plan to Advance Security Cooperation that spells out a detailed dialogue mechanism which has been meeting regularly and its decisions implemented steadfastly.”

“Indian and Japanese Coast Guards have regular interactions as does the Indian Navy and Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force,” he said.


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