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India and Japan plan more military drills to strengthen ties

India also ivited investment by Japanese industries as the Defence Ministers of both the countries met on Thursday

September 08, 2022 12:12 pm | Updated 12:12 pm IST - Tokyo

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada pose for photographers prior to the Japan-India bilateral defense meeting at the Japanese Defense Ministry in Tokyo on September 8, 2022.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada pose for photographers prior to the Japan-India bilateral defense meeting at the Japanese Defense Ministry in Tokyo on September 8, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

India and Japan said on Thursday they would deepen defence cooperation, with New Delhi inviting investment by Japanese industries and both countries planning a joint military drill involving their air force fighters.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held talks in Tokyo with his Japanese counterpart Yasukazu Hamada, and both will join their respective Foreign Ministers later in the day for "two-plus-two" talks.

Also Read | Japan an ‘indispensable partner’ in India’s continuing transformation: PM Modi

"He invited Japanese industries to invest in India's defence corridors," India's Defence Ministry said in a statement, referring to Mr. Singh.

"The two Ministers agreed that the early conduct of the inaugural fighter exercise will pave the way for much greater cooperation and inter-operability between the air forces of the two countries."

India, like Japan, is bolstering its military to tackle what it sees as increased security threats, including from neighbouring China.

In Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has promised a "substantial" defence spending increase. His ruling Liberal Democratic Party wants to double Japan's military budget to 2% of gross domestic product over the next five years amid worry Russia's invasion of Ukraine could embolden China to act against neighboring Taiwan.

Delhi, which last week commissioned its first home-built aircraft carrier, is expanding its security ties with Tokyo as both Asian nations grow wary of China's growing military might in the region.

The two countries, along with Australia and the United States are members of the Quad group of nations and hold annual naval exercises across the Indo-Pacific to demonstrate inter-operability.

The last leaders gathering in May in Japan was dominated by discussion about Taiwan after U.S. President Joe Biden angered China a day earlier by saying he would be willing to use force to defend the democratic island. As they met, Russian and Chinese warplanes conducted a joint patrol in the region.

Mr. Kishida and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a separate bilateral meeting agreed to work closely together to promote a "free and open Indo-Pacific."

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