Defence Ministers of India, Japan talk regional situation

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New Delhi, Jan 6: India and Japan on Monday agreed to step up military ties as they exchanged ideas on the regional security against the backdrop of tensions in the East China Sea over the restrictions imposed their by China.

The cooperation on military ties and other issues came up during talks between Defence Minister AK Antony and his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera here.

"The two ministers extensively and frankly exchanged ideas regarding regional and global security challenges, as well as bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges between India and Japan. They shared views on issues relating to the peace, stability and prosperity of the region," a Defence Ministry release said.

The exchange of views on regional security situation comes against the backdrop of China establishing Air Defence Identification Zone over the area to bar passage of any kind, including flights of any other country. This move has led to tensions between Japan and China, with even the US getting involved.

The two ministers appreciated the progress on India-Japan bilateral cooperation.

At the meeting, Onodera also briefed Antony about Japan's National Security Strategy and the National Defence Program Guidelines, which were adopted in December 2013. Expressing satisfaction at the progress of their ties, the two sides agreed to continue high-level visit exchanges under which the Indian Defence Minister will visit Japan later this year and also decided to have bilateral naval exercise to be held in Japan.

"The two countries also agreed to hold the third "2 plus 2" dialogue and the Defence Secretary-level 4th Defence Policy Dialogue in Delhi in 2014 and agreed to promote exchanges on UN Peacekeeping Operations," the release said.

The two sides also agreed to continue expert exchanges in disaster relief and counter terrorism between both Indian and Japanese Army; and discuss possibility of conducting staff talks between their air forces along with professional exchanges of test-pilots and in the field of flight safety.

The two ministers appreciated the progress on India-Japan bilateral defence cooperation including the second bilateral training between the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force and the Indian Navy from December 19-22, 2013.

PTI

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