New Delhi, March 30: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar began his first visit to abroad by calling on Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe today. Parrikar is on a 3-day visit to Japan on an invitation from his counterpart Gen Nakatani.
According to a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson, who gave details of Parrikar's ongoing visit, the Japanese PM Abe wanted to build a strong relationship with India not only in economic field but also in defence and security fields.
Abe is said to have told Parrikar that a strong Indo-Japan partnership is not only in the national interest of the two countries but is also important for peace and security in the region.
During the day, Parrikar held a Defence Ministerial Meeting with Gen Nakatani and his team in Tokyo.
MoD sources said that the two ministers briefed each other on the security environment surrounding each country and their respective defence policies.
Maintaining peace & stability in the region key
"Strategic developments relating to international security situation with emphasis on the inter-connected Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions were reviewed. Both parties agreed that the inter-connected Indo-Pacific region, India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership has a key role in maintaining peace and stability in the region," MoD said in an official statement.
Both Parrikar and Gen Nakatani welcomed the progress made in bilateral defence exchanges following the signing of Memorandum of Cooperation and Exchanges in the Field of Defence during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Japanese visit in September 2014.
India and Japan appreciated the on-going maritime cooperation as exemplified by bilateral Japan-India Maritime Exercises. The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force had participated in the Indo-US Joint Naval Exercises "Malabar 14" in July 2014, which was held off the coast of Japan.
Defence equipment & tech high on agenda
MoD said that the both defence ministers noted the progress made in discussion in the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation (JWG-DETC).
The officials said that India and Japan have the potential in the area of defence equipment and technology cooperation, which can emerge as a key pillar of bilateral defence relations.
The Japanese Defence Minister is expected to visit India next year. Both nations have also agreed to work together in specified areas of mutual benefit and interest.